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Can rapid COVID-19 tests be done at home in Vietnam?

Vietnam’s health authority is advising residents to sign up for COVID-19 testing at local healthcare facilities to ensure an accurate result.

There are three COVID-19 testing methods currently available in Vietnam, including real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, rapid antigen tests, and antibody tests, according to Nguyen Tu Hieu, deputy head of the medical equipment department under the Ministry of Health.

COVID-19 breath tests may also be available in the country in the near future, Hieu added.

Both real-time RT-PCR and antigen tests use nasopharyngeal fluid and saliva samples, while antibody testing requires blood samples.

Antigen and antibody tests can provide results within about 30 minutes, but their accuracy rate is only 80 percent.

If a person’s rapid test comes back positive for the novel coronavirus, they still need to undergo real-time RT-PCR testing for a confirmatory result, the health official elaborated.

Real-time RT-PCR tests take a longer time to return results and can only be conducted at healthcare facilities licensed by the Ministry of Health.

Vietnam has approved the circulation of seven types of COVID-19 antigen test kits, with prices ranging from VND100,000 ($4.3) to VND200,000 ($8.6) apiece.

Although these test kits are often simple to use, the health sector recommends that residents undergo COVID-19 tests at local hospitals for a more accurate result, Hieu stated.

Using a test kit the wrong way may lead to inaccurate results, he elaborated, adding that samples of a patient can also spread the virus if not stored or discarded properly.

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