Japanese government lifts ban on antigen test kits for coronavirus infections

Japanese government lifts ban on antigen test kits for coronavirus infections

The Mainichi Shimbun answers some common questions people may have about test kits for coronavirus infections that are now available online and on the shelves at pharmacies.

Is it possible to buy coronavirus test kits at the drug store?

Answer: On September 27, the Japanese Government lifted a ban on the sale of simple antigen test kits for medical use in pharmacies. In order to prevent the spread of infections, the government is warning people to take the tests themselves if they are concerned about their health.

What are the best kits for computer?

A: The kits sold before the ban was lifted were not medically approved, and the government urged people not to use them, saying their quality could not be guaranteed. However, the products that have been given the green light this time had already been approved by the government. Pharmacists will explain how to administer the test and the need to see a doctor if its result is positive, and then ask the purchaser to sign a form. Kits are not covered by insurance, so people have to pay full price.

A: In general, nasal mucus collected with a cotton swab is dipped into the kit, which takes 15 to 30 minutes to determine whether the result is positive, negative or invalid. However, even a positive result does not guarantee that a person is not infected. It is less reliable than a PCR test, meaning contamination can be overlooked as a result.

Q: What is the downside of finding out it is possible to travel with negative test results?

A: You're referring to the package of vaccine and test that government is considering introducing. The government is planning to allow people to visit and engage in other activities even during a state of emergency, as long as they have proof of vaccination or negative test results. It is assumed that PCR test kits are less expensive than antigen test kits, which are actively used.

However, the kits are not recommended for diagnosing symptomless people because of the low risk of failing to detect an infection if the virus count is low. The government is likely to decide on the system after November, but the handling of antigen test kits is likely to stir debate.