As the Singapore government is ramping up the process of getting the population vaccinated, the sales of at-home COVID-19 test kits have also begun. While most of us wouldn’t think to buy a test kit for our personal use, I was curious enough to want to get my hands on one just to see how fuss-free these kits claim themselves to be. More importantly, I know how intimidating swab tests can be, so how comfortable are these test kits when self-administered?
I managed to get a hold on the Quidel QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test (which we’ll refer to as the QuickVue Test throughout this piece), which is currently sold at Guardian, Watson, and Unity outlets from S$10 to S$13 for the 2-Tests per kit and S$260 to S$280 for the 25-Tests per kit (Family kit).
While the Family kit might prove pricey, I reckon it’s worth the investment and peace of mind for the whole family to take the test in the comfort of home, from time to time, if and when anyone shows symptoms of the flu or fever. The QuickVue Test claims to be able to be administered within 10 minutes and true enough, it really is that quick.
A single test kit comes with three components: a sterile foam-tipped applicator for swabbing, a test strip, and a tiny tube containing a faint blue liquid. Remember to wash your hands before taking the test and it is recommended to wear gloves during testing to ensure hygiene, but for this demonstration, no gloves were used.
First, remove the foam-tipped applicator from its sleeve and gently insert the swab up to 3/4-inch into each nostril, firmly rubbing the swab in a circular motion around the wall of the nostrils. Perform this swirling motion at least four times for each nostril.
Once that is complete, immediately place the swab into the liquid inside the tube, ensuring that it touches the bottom. Stir three to four times. Leave in the swab for about one minute to achieve accurate results.
After a minute, remove the swab from the tube by rubbing the tip of the swab against the inside wall of the tube to squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Rip open the test strip pouch and hold it by the correct side (the side away from the arrows).
Place the test strip inside the tube with the arrows pointing down and leave it inside the tube for at least 10 minutes.
To check if you’re positive or negative for COVID-19, your results should show as one of the following:
- POSITIVE: Both a pink and blue line must appear (even if they are only faint lines).
- NEGATIVE: Only a blue line appears (even if it’s only a faint line).
- INVALID TEST RESULTS: Only a pink line appears (even if it’s only a faint line).
Of course, I’m thankful that my QuickVue Test this time was negative (as shown by the faint blue-only line). And the best part is that, apart from the waiting game of 10 minutes for the results to show, the swab test wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it’d be. Sure, I sneezed at least 10 times in a row right after, but it’s all in the name of health and safety. Naturally, when you’re self-administering, you’ll likely not be as vigorous with the swabbing as someone else doing it for you, but the test has shown to be sensitive enough to my gentle swabbing to be able to tell me if I have COVID-19.
If you prefer to have your own test kit, carrying around a 2-Tests per kit is sufficient and really handy for when you just want to perform a quick check. As for me, I feel a lot more comfortable now that I have a whole box of 25 test kits at my disposal if paranoia ever hits or if I ever fall ill in the near future.
Date: Available now at Guardian, Watson, and Unity outlets
Prices: From S$10 to S$13 for the 2-Tests per kit and S$260 to S$280 for the 25-Tests per kit (Family kit)
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