As COVID cases continue to balloon across the country and testing sites reach capacity - millions of Australians are increasingly turning to rapid antigen tests - or RATs.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved more than a dozen different self-tests for supply in Australia and has categorized them according to their clinical sensitivity.
Watch the full report on the best rapid antigen tests in the video player above
The performance requirements - aligned with technical specifications published by the World Health Organisation and the European Commission - include a minimum clinical sensitivity of at least 80 percent.
This is based on the test’s positive percent agreement (PPA) - the proportion of individuals that produced a positive test result using a COVID-19 rapid antigen self-test, compared to those with a positive result by PCR test.
The theory is that the greater the sensitivity, the greater chance it has at detecting COVID-19, the less chance of a false negative.
Acceptable sensitivity” indicates a clinical sensitivity greater than 80 percent PPA, ‘high sensitivity’ greater than 90 percent PPA and “very high sensitivity” greater than 95 percent PPA.
Infectious disease expert Paul Griffin told Sunrise that as time passes, and access and availability increase, “it would be best to use the one that has the highest performance that you can find and afford”.
But right now, with shortages across the country, experts say it’s important not to stress if you can’t find the exact brand you were looking for.
“Whatever test you can get is better than doing no test,” he said, adding that those who can only find those with lower sensitivity should test themselves over consecutive days.
COVID-19 tests approved by the TGA
The following COVID-19 self-tests have been approved by the TGA for supply in Australia.
The following kits have been given a “very high sensitivity” label:
All Test SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Nasal Swab) (ICOV-502H) Self-Test - Nasal swab
LYHER Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Antigen Test Kit (Colloidal Gold) Self-Test - Nasal swab
OnSite COVID-19 Ag Self Test - Nasal swab
Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test - Nasal swab
Rapid SARS-COV-2 Antigen Test Card Self-test - Nasal swab
V-Chek COVID-19 Antigen Saliva Test - Saliva
The following have been given the “high sensitivity” label:
All Test COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (Oral Fluid) Self-Test (ICOV-802H) - Oral fluid
Hough COVID-19 Home Test - Nasal swab
JusChek SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Nasal Swab) INCP-502H Self Test - Nasal swab
JusChek COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (Oral Fluid) ICOV-802H Self Test - Oral fluid
My Covid Test Antigen Rapid Test (Oral Fluid) (ICOV-802H) Self-Test - Oral fluid
Orawell COVID-19 Ag Rapid saliva test device (Self-test) - Saliva
RightSign COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Cassette (Nasal Swab) - Nasal swab
TESTSEALABS COVID-19 Antigen Test Cassette - Nasal swab
And these “acceptable sensitivity”:
CareStart COVID-19 Antigen Home Test - Nasal swab
Ecotest COVID-19 Antigen Saliva Test kit (COV-S35Pen) - Saliva
InnoScreen COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device (Self Test) - Nasal swab
SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self Test Nasal - Nasal swab