The Malaysia Government has implemented capped price for Covid-19 tests under the Emergency Ordinance gazetted on 11 May 2021.
Capped Price for Covid-19 Tests
|Test||Peninsular Malaysia||East Malaysia|
The price of Covid-19 tests has been capped to ensure it remains reasonable. Labs and testing centers charging more than the set price must itemise the additional charges. Adham Baba, Minister of Health, advised people overcharged for Covid-19 test to lodge complaints with the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).
Types of Covid-19 Tests
|What Is It||Diagnostic test (molecular) to show if a person has an active infection||Diagnostic test (antigen) to show if a person has an active infection||Test to show if a person had a past infection|
|What it detects||The virus genetic material||Specific proteins from the virus||Antibodies in the person’s immune system|
|How the sample is taken||Nasal and throat swab||Nasal swab||Blood test (finger prick or blood draw)|
|How long it takes to get results||Same day to a few days||15 to 30 minutes||Same day to a few days|
|Accuracy||Highly accurate||Highly accurate but false positives can occur. Positive results need to be confirmed with a PCR test||Additional test may be required for accurate results|
|Usefulness||Gold standard for diagnosing Covid-19 virus due to high sensitive rates||Useful for detecting Covid-19 outbreaks quickly and in large quantities||Able to detect if someone has a past infection. Not suitable to detect current infection.|
The RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) is the gold standard of Covid-19 testing which involves nasal and throat swabs. Results can be obtained after 24 hours. This test is the most expensive but provides the highest accuracy.
The cheaper RTK-Antigen (Rapid Test Kit Antigen) works almost as well as RT-PCR but could sometimes result in false positives. The results for this test take about 15 minutes, making it suitable for testing large groups of people.
Recently the Selangor Government embarked on a state-wide screening. The RTK-Antigen was used in all 56 state constituencies. Those suspected positive would be sent for an RT-PCR test to reduce false-positive cases.
The RTK-Antibody test is not suitable for testing actively affected cases. They only detect the presence of antibodies from a person that the virus has infected in the past.
For comparison, the capped price for Covid-19 tests in Indonesia IDR 90,000 (approximately MYR260) for RT-PCR and IDR 150,000 (about RM43) for the rapid test. In Singapore, the price limit is SGD200 (approximately MYR620) for RT-PCR.