BLUF

Very soon, Australians may no longer have to line up for hours to be tested for COVID-19.

Summary

From November 1, Australians will be able to test themselves for COVID-19 at home—something some other parts of the world are doing already. The 'rapid antigen tests' are currently under-going approval for personal use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). But what is a rapid antigen test, and what else is there you need to know?
  • It's a COVID-19 test you can do at home that will tell you whether or not you have the virus.
  • It's done the same way as at a clinic—you still have to stick the swab up your nose.
  • The results come back within 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the test.
  • Some rapid antigen tests can be used on children aged two years or older.
  • In Australia, home tests can only be used under the direct supervision of a qualified health professional.
  • Australians will be able to buy the tests to use on themselves from November 1.
  • The TGA has approved 33 tests for use under supervision, and Health Minister Greg Hunt said suppliers are welcome to apply for at-home use approval. 
  • It is not yet known how much the home test will cost but in the US they are as low as $US25.
However, Australians need to be aware that these tests are not as accurate as the tests carried out by professionals and checked in a laboratory.