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COVID-19 self-test kits on sale in S. Korea show results within 15 to 30 minutes Updated: 2021-05-04 06:54:22 KST

Local drug stores throughout South Korea now stock COVID-19 self-test kits, available for purchase without a prescription.

"We've had a lot of phone calls asking whether the kits are in, so quite a few people will stop by to get theirs in the afternoon."

Three kinds have been granted conditional approval for use from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
SD Biosensor's kit has been on sale both in pharmacies and online since last Thursday at about 14 U.S. dollars for a pack of two.
It's being distributed nationwide by Hanmi Pharmaceuticals and the instructions for use are simple.

"First, insert the swab about 1-and-a-half centimeters up your nose and swab your nostrils 10 times each
Then place your sample inside the solution tube and rotate it 10 times
Next, close the tube with the nozzle cap and finally squeeze four drops of your sample into the circular opening on the device
15 to 30 minutes later, either one or two lines will show up: one meaning negative, and two positive."

The results aren't always accurate though, especially for people who are asymptomatic, meaning it's possible to get a false-negative.
And those who test positive are required to visit screening centers and undergo a PCR test.
Health authorities say the kits should only be used as a supplementary diagnosis method for those with respiratory symptoms who are unable to get a proper PCR test.
But Korea is looking to put them to wide use with cluster infections still popping up nationwide.
The one developed by Humasis will be sold at convenience stores around the country starting Friday.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education plans to introduce self-test kits to schools with sports teams or with dormitories of more than 100 students.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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