(ECNS) -- Another five COVID-19 antigen kits for self-testing were approved for listing by China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) on Sunday, bringing the total number of such products officially listed in the country to 10.
Antigen detection, an immunity-based method, can test for the coronavirus in 30 minutes in the human body, said Cheng Jing, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE).
Compared with nucleic acid and antibody tests, antigen detection is easier in operation, more effective and convenient, safer, and has wider applications and costs less, which will lower the burden on medical workers and institutes like hospitals, said Huang Ailong, a professor at Chongqing Medical University.
According to Huang, rapid antigen detection will be widely used in airports, customs, hotels, restaurants, meetings, games, etc. It is also available at home for self-testing, with results produced within 30 minutes. It costs only 20 percent of nucleic acid tests. Therefore, it is possible to complete mass screening in a short time and can avoid the risk of cross-infection.
Huang suggested to combine the large-scale home-based antigen kits for self-testing and small-scale targeted nucleic acid test to build up a normalized mode of COVID-19 prevention and control.
"The combination of the two testing methods will greatly improve the efficiency of pandemic prevention and control and lower the anti-pandemic cost, thus reducing the influence on the economy brought by COVID-19," said Huang.
The COVID-19 antigen test is a supplementary diagnostic method to mainstream nucleic acid testing to improve early detection capabilities, according to the National Health Commission.
The National Medical Products Administration allowed five companies－Nanjing Vazyme Biotech, Beijing Jinwofu Bioengineering Technology, Shenzhen-based BGI PathoGenesis Pharmaceutical Technology, Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech, and Beijing Savant Biotechnology－to utilize self-testing from Saturday.