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Coronavirus self-test kits to hit pharmacy shelves in coming days

All News 08:56 April 28, 2021

SEOUL, April 28 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans are expected to be able to purchase coronavirus self-test kits at local pharmacies or via online channels as early as this weekend or early next week, sources said Wednesday.

South Korea's drug safety agency on Friday green-lighted two types of COVID-19 home test kits developed by biotech firms SD Biosensor and Humasis in an effort to boost its testing capacity amid rising cases.

Anticipating its self-test kits to hit local pharmacy shelves as early as this weekend, Humasis said its product prices have yet to be finalized but will likely range from 10,000 won (US$8.99) to 12,000 won.

SD Biosensor said it will supply its rapid test kits through two distributors and are in discussions with them over the final price.

"We plan to announce the price of our self-test kits on Wednesday or Thursday," an SD Biosensor executive said. "They may be available at local pharmacies early next week."

Health officials expected consumer prices of those self-test kits to reach around 10,000 won as their factory prices are said to be 7,000 won.

Those self-test kits should be used as a supplementary tool as their accuracy is low compared with the preemptive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests commonly used here. Users collect samples from their noses on their own, and the results come out within 15-20 minutes.

The two self-test kits have also won approval for emergency use by foreign countries, and they are currently being used in several European countries.

South Korea is struggling to boost its testing capacity as the country is girding for another wave of the pandemic.

This file photo shows a COVID-19 self-test kit developed by South Korean biotech firm SD Biosensor. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows a COVID-19 self-test kit developed by South Korean biotech firm SD Biosensor. (Yonhap)


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