Bangladesh to allow COVID-19 antigen tests at private hospitals

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The government has decided to allow antigen tests for COVID-19 at private hospitals as Bangladesh is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of infections, especially in the countryside.

The fees for the tests will be fixed at Tk 700.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Thursday that an official announcement will be made in a couple of days.

Bangladesh currently relies on RT-PCR tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19. Although the process yields most accurate results, the wait time for report is at least 24 hours.  

Results of antigen tests come out in 20 to 30 minutes. It can be done with swab samples from throat or nose, or with blood sample.   

The government also conducts antigen tests on a limited scale in some parts of the country. It charges Tk 100 for a test.

Maleque said the government had set the guidelines for the antigen tests earlier, but the fees were not fixed. “This time the price has been set at Tk 700 following a proposal from the Directorate General of Health Services.”  

Only hospitals of good quality will get the approval to conduct the tests, he said.

Two COVID antigen test kits - Biosensor and Panbio – have the approval of the Directorate General of Drug Administration.

The estimated cost of one kit is Tk 500.