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Tips for choosing an antigen test kit


“It’s getting colder.”
It has been pointed out that a simultaneous epidemic of the new coronavirus infection and seasonal influenza may occur this winter. In that event, there may be many fever patients,
and it may be difficult to visit fever clinics, so it is important to prepare in advance.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is recommending a “new corona antigen qualitative test kit” and “antipyretic analgesics” as “advance preparation”. This time, we will introduce the details of how to choose an antigen test kit.

What if it is difficult to become a fever outpatient?

When the new corona and seasonal influenza are prevalent and it becomes difficult to get a reservation for a fever outpatient clinic, the government recommends that people with a low
risk of exacerbation should test on their own with the new “corona antigen qualitative test kit”.
“Low-risk people” are people other than the elderly, people with underlying diseases, pregnant women, and children under elementary school age.
◎ Reference: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “For those at low risk of severe illness
from the new coronavirus”
Then, if the antigen test is positive, it will be registered with the local “health follow-up center” and will be treated at home.

How to choose an antigen test kit

The question here is, “Which antigen test kit should I buy?”
Antigen test kits can be purchased at pharmacies, drug stores, and online. There are multiple types, but the objective is to choose one that is government-approved.
Then, as to which one is “government-approved”, it is OK to choose one labeled as “in-vitro diagnostic drug” or “class 1 drug”. Those labeled as in-vitro diagnostic drugs are ethical
drugs, and those labeled as class 1 drugs are non-prescription drugs (OTC drugs).

Pharmacies where you can buy antigen test kits

Antigen test kits are not available at all pharmacies. A list of pharmacies that handle medical antigen test kits can be found on the following website of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
◎Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “List of pharmacies handling antigen test kits for medical use”

Antigen test kits available online

Antigen test kits, which are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, can also be purchased online.
Information on general-purpose antigen test kits (OTC) currently approved by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare can be found on the following site. Please be sure to verify when purchasing online.
◎Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “Approval information for general antigen test kit
(OTC) for new coronavirus infection”

“Research use” is NG

When you search for antigen test kits on the internet shop, you may find many that say “for research”. Antigen test kits purportedly marketed for research use are not government-approved and cannot be used for registration at health follow-up centers.
Therefore, be sure to choose drugs labeled as “in vitro diagnostic drugs” or “class 1 drugs”, not “for research use”.
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “Response to simultaneous epidemics of new coronavirus and seasonal influenza”

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