Covid tests: it's looking like these things are going to be part of our lives for a little while yet. This week, the National Health Commission released new information regarding Antigen Home Self-Test Kits that are now available at pharmacies across China.
Initial, Super Important Caveats
- Antigen Tests are different than "Nucleic Acid Tests", which are still the most accurate way to determine whether a person has contracted COVID or not. Antigen tests are categorized as a "supplemental" test to the iron-clad accuracy of a Nucleic Acid Test.
- Antigen Tests are NOT substitutes for Nucleic Acid Tests, and as such cannot be used to prove one's health... in a situation wherein one's health must be proved. Even if you can produce a negative antigen test, they're still not gonna let you into the mall.
- Antigen Tests, therefore, are more for people who are feeling symptoms and want to test themselves at home to determine if they've in fact got COVID or not. It's also being used in areas of China where Nucleic Acid Tests are less available, costly, and place a burden on infrastructure.
The 10 Brands of Approved Antigen Test Products
Based on the documents provided on the official website of National Medical Products Administration, a total of 10 COVID test kits have been approved as of March 15, 2022.
Product name: 新型冠状病毒（2019-nCoV）抗原检测试剂盒.
- 1. 华科泰 (Huaketai)
- 2. 诺唯赞 (Vazyme)
- 3. 金沃夫 (Genfocus)
- 4. 华大因源 (Patho-Genesis)
- 5. 万孚生物 (Wondfo)
- 6. 万泰生物 (Wantai Biopharm)
- 7. 热景生物 (Hotgen)
- 8. 博奥赛斯 (Bioscience)
- 9. 明道捷测 (M&D Biotechnology)
- 10. 乐普诊断 (Lepu Technology)
Availability at Local Pharmacies
Reportedly, local pharmacies will start selling Antigen Self-test Kits from next week. The kits will be accessible to big chains, including LBX Pharmacy, Yifeng Pharmacy, and more.
Availability on Taobao
If you type 新冠自测 (xīn guàn zì cè) on Taobao, it automatically takes you to the page of the official Alibaba store. So far, two types of self-test kit are available but only the bottom one delivers to Shanghai, which is from Genfocus. 25rmb per pack. 120rmb for 5 packs. It says they will deliver within 10 days after purchase.
There are other shops selling the products but you're taking your chances. Make sure you order from the official page.
Availability on JD
Another reliable online platform to get the product is from Jingdong.
By researching 新冠抗原自测 (xīn guàn kàng yuán zì cè), you will be led to a page where five types of self-test kits are provided. Individual ones and large packs are both available.
The tricky thing with Jingdong, however, is you have to check the availability of different products first. For pre-sale products, they only allow you to reserve (click the red button on the bottom right of the product page: 立即预约), and will send you a notification once the products are released. Only then will you be able to finish the payment.
So technically, you will only be able to buy the kit from Patho-Genesis. Which is a pack of kits for 20 people and costs 490rmb. They will start deliver the products in 20 days.
So, maybe a bit of time before antigen self-test kits are everywhere in the market. And, again, a negative antigen test result is not a substitute for a negative nucleic acid test but it's another option for you to be sure at home.