The Department of Health (DOH) has issued guidelines for self-administered antigen test kits for COVID-19, the agency said on Tuesday.
The self-administered antigen test kits are recommended only for symptomatic individuals within seven days from the onset of symptoms.
They are also recommended for asymptomatic close contacts and for screening asymptomatic people.
The DOH said such tests are recommended “especially if the capacity for timely RT-PCR results is limited or not available.”
However, the DOH said the RT-PCR remains the main diagnostic method for COVID-19.
Symptomatic individuals, suspect or probable COVID-19 cases, and their close contacts whose antigen tests yield positive results will be considered positive for COVID-19.
At present, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two antigen self-test kits from Abbott and Labnovation Technologies, Inc.
The DOH said all individuals with positive results must report to their Barangay Health Emergency Response Team or health care provider.
Meanwhile, local government units and telemedicine providers accredited by the DOH will implement their own reporting system.
“Reporting of results of self-administered antigen test is mandatory,” the DOH said.
LGUs were also directed to monitor the use of the test kits and to immediately report to the DOH all circumstances of indiscriminate use.
The DOH said waste generated from the use of self-administered test kits such as swabs, kits, gloves, and body fluid should be considered infectious waste and must be separated from other waste.
Waste that has been combined with waste from test kits shall also be considered infectious waste.
The DOH said these should be packaged in sealed bags or containers that are leak-resistant, impervious to moisture, and durable.
These should also be labeled “CAUTION: INFECTIOUS WASTES.”
These should be stored indoors in a well-ventilated area and not around areas used for food preparation or consumption.
Also on Tuesday, a member of the government’s Vaccine Expert Panel said the single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine used as a booster is effective in strengthening the immune system against the disease.
During a media forum, Dr. Isagani Padolina cited data issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2021 that clinical trials showed that the Janssen vaccine has “the capacity to boost antibody concentrations” six months after the primary series of mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna.