Health D-G: New test kits from Korea with 80pc accuracy assurance arrives next week

Yiswaree Palansamy
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah giving a press conference at the Health Ministry in Putrajaya, April 4, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, April 4 — New Covid-19 testing test kits which promise an 80 per cent accuracy rate are due to arrive on Malaysian shores next week, the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

In a press conference at MOH’s headquarters here, Dr Noor Hisham said that the manufacturer of the test kit had given the assurance on the accuracy prospect.

“So we hope that we will have a reliable test kit. We have been assured that next week, we have another test kit coming from Korea, so we are looking forward.

“They promised us that this has more than 80 per cent accuracy. So if it’s 80 per cent accuracy, we can use it, but if it’s 50 per cent accuracy, it’s very difficult for us to use because there will be false positive and false negative. You think you don’t have it, then you have the virus. You think you may have the virus, but you don’t have the virus,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said that MOH also uses antigen test kits; two from China and one from Korea, but all of the kits had poor accuracy, between only 50 and 51 per cent.

He said the rapid test kit currently being used, gives the most accurate reading, albeit taking longer to show results.

“The good thing about this rapid test kit is its point of care of testing, which means we don’t need to send the samples to the IMR (Institute of Medical Research) or etc, so with the clinics for example doing the swab, if you have a biosafety cabinet, you can test it there and the result you will probably get the results much faster.

“Maximum of one or two hours, depending on the time taken for us to take the swab,” he said.

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