Consumers warned to check home corona tests against approved list

Fast coronavirus tests. Photo:
Fast coronavirus tests. Photo:

Health inspectors have received dozens of reports of unlicensed coronavirus test kits being sold online and over the counter in shops.

Six home testing kits have been approved for sale in supermarkets, pharmacies and chemists, as well as by online, by the Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate (IGJ).

Other tests have been given the European Union’s CE quality mark, but are only suitable for use by qualified medical staff. A separate check is needed to determine whether the test can reliably be taken at home.

In other cases tests are advertised as ‘approved by the RIVM’, even though the public health agency does not have a certification system. The RIVM has given a number of manufacturers an exemption from the standard certification procedure so they can put their products on the market faster.

Inspectors have urged consumers and retailers to check whether the product on sale is on the list, which is available on the government’s website.

‘We’ve had to take action several times against web shops,’ a spokesman for the IGJ told NOS. ‘Some shops have stopped selling the tests as a result, or make clear on their website that the fast tests are only available to health professionals.’

Epidemiologist Amrish Baidjoe said there was little difference in quality between the six tests on sale, all of which have been vetted by the RIVM. More expensive tests are not necessarily more reliable and competition is bringing the price down, he added.

He also warned people not to overestimate the reliability of self-testing. Anyone who gets a positive result is supposed to contact their local health board for a PCR test, but false negative results are also a risk, Baidjoe warned.

‘The quality of the result of a home test stands or falls on how the person uses the test and the consequences that they attach to the result, ‘he said. ‘The tests can play a major role in the corona pandemic, but there are still many questions.’

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