Rapid COVID-19 tests to hit Australian supermarket shelves from next week


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Coles will be stocking the Hough Pharma COVID Antigen Nasal nasal test in packs of two and five on its shelves starting next week, a company spokesperson said.

Coles online shoppers will also be able to add rapid tests to their baskets in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory, ACT and Tasmania.

A two-pack of Hough Pharma costs around $ 30 and a five-pack $ 50.

Supermarket rival Woolworths is looking to stock approved self-test kits in select stores from early November, a spokesperson for the Woolworths Group said.

Woolies-run digital health and wellness company HealthyLife will start shipping tests from Hough Pharma from Monday, with customers already able to pre-order them.

High school students receive rapid antigen tests in Melbourne.

Source: PAA / James Ross

However, state regulations mean they cannot ship them to South Australia or Western Australia.

The tests will also be rolled out in gasoline and convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Ampol and Coles Express through November.

They will largely stock the Hough Pharma brand test, said Theo Foukkare, managing director of the Australian Convenience Stores Association.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that the government currently has no plan to make rapid tests free through Medicare.

There is no restriction on where the tests can be sold, although there are some restrictions on advertising.

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Michael Lydeamore, a researcher at Monash University, says rapid antigen testing has worked well abroad, especially where efforts are no longer focused on tracking every case.

“As we move into the next stage of the pandemic, rapid antigenic testing will help us quickly determine what can remain open and help us better understand the dynamics of the disease at play,” said Dr Lydeamore.

Health Minister Greg Hunt stressed on Wednesday that the less precise tests do not replace standard PCR tests.

“It is additional support and an additional screening tool rather than a pure diagnostic tool,” Hunt told reporters.

The tests analyze a nasal swab or saliva for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Anyone who tests positive should immediately follow up with a PCR test, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

They are most reliable when used by someone with symptoms of COVID-19.

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