A Change in Approach? Rapid Antigen Tests Being Used in Guangzhou

By Lars James Hamer, April 15, 2022

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Guangzhou rolled out the use of rapid antigen tests (RATs) to a number of buildings in the Juanma Street Tama Community, Tianhe District on Tuesday, April 12, as reported by Guangdong Radio and Television

Some residents who are isolating at home in Yuexiu District and residents in sealed-off communities in Baiyun District also carried out RATs this week. 

Anyone who returns a positive test must report their result and remain in their home.

An update to Guangzhou’s Suikang Code allows residents to upload their antigen test declaration.

IMG_7268.jpg

Guangzhou's Suikang Code now has an option to upload rapid antigen test results. Image via That's.

The benefit of RATs is that they can provide results within minutes, don’t require hospital visits or healthcare workers and can catch COVID-19 cases without leaving the home. 

However, they are more prone to providing false negative or positive results.

Shanghai has been using RATs for a while now. The city has recently started delivering a box of the kits to each household so residents can test themselves each morning.IMG_7271.JPG

A box of RATs delivered to residents in Shanghai. Image via That's.

The use of RATs could signal a change in approach to handling COVID-19 testing in the Guangdong. 

READ MORE: China Releases Requirements for Home Quarantine

This week, the Chinese government outlined plans to implement at-home quarantines and will trial shorter isolation periods for people returning from overseas. 

READ MORE: China to Trial 10-Day Central Quarantine for Overseas Arrivals

Companies that produce RATs have been nicknamed “demon stocks” (妖股 yaogu) by Chinese netizens. The term is used to describe companies and people who buck market trends and excel in spite of global trends.

The term is not unique to COVID-19 testing companies but they are frequently referred to as demon stocks because they profit from the need to test or the fact that people are sick. 

Sup China reported that iHealth Labs, a company that makes RATs, reported estimated net profits of RMB14-16 billion in the first quarter of the 2022 financial year. A staggering year-on-year increase of 36,707% to 41,965%.


[Cover image via Weibo@春夏秋冬平平淡淡又一年]

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