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COVID-19 self-testing using antigen rapid diagnostic tests: Feasibility evaluation among health-care workers and general population in Malawi

Nasrallah, Gheyath K., Mukoka, Madalo, Sibanda, Euphemia, Watadzaushe, Constancia, Kumwenda, Moses, Abok, Florence, Corbett, Elizabeth L., Ivanova, Elena and Choko, Augustine (2023) 'COVID-19 self-testing using antigen rapid diagnostic tests: Feasibility evaluation among health-care workers and general population in Malawi'. PLoS ONE, Vol 18, Issue 7, e0289291.

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COVID-19 testing is critical for identifying cases to prevent transmission. COVID-19 self-testing has the potential to increase diagnostic testing capacity and to expand access to hard-to-reach areas in low-and-middle-income countries. We investigated the feasibility and acceptability of COVID-19 self-sampling and self-testing using SARS-CoV-2 Antigen-Rapid Diagnostic Tests (Ag-RDTs).

From July 2021 to February 2022, we conducted a mixed-methods cross-sectional study examining self-sampling and self-testing using Standard Q and Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device in Urban and rural Blantyre, Malawi. Health care workers and adults (18y+) in the general population were non-randomly sampled.

Overall, 1,330 participants were enrolled of whom 674 (56.0%) were female and 656 (54.0%) were male with 664 for self-sampling and 666 for self-testing. Mean age was 30.7y (standard deviation [SD] 9.6). Self-sampling usability threshold for Standard Q was 273/333 (82.0%: 95% CI 77.4% to 86.0%) and 261/331 (78.8%: 95% CI 74.1% to 83.1%) for Panbio. Self-testing threshold was 276/335 (82.4%: 95% CI 77.9% to 86.3%) and 300/332 (90.4%: 95% CI 86.7% to 93.3%) for Standard Q and Panbio, respectively. Agreement between self-sample results and professional test results was 325/325 (100%) and 322/322 (100%) for Standard Q and Panbio, respectively. For self-testing, agreement was 332/333 (99.7%: 95% CI 98.3 to 100%) for Standard Q and 330/330 (100%: 95% CI 99.8 to 100%) for Panbio. Odds of achieving self-sampling threshold increased if the participant was recruited from an urban site (odds ratio [OR] 2.15 95% CI 1.44 to 3.23, P < .01. Compared to participants with primary school education those with secondary and tertiary achieved higher self-testing threshold OR 1.88 (95% CI 1.17 to 3.01), P = .01 and 4.05 (95% CI 1.20 to13.63), P = .02, respectively.

One of the first studies to demonstrate high feasibility and acceptability of self-testing using SARS-CoV-2 Ag-RDTs among general and health-care worker populations in low- and middle-income countries potentially supporting large scale-up. Further research is warranted to provide optimal delivery strategies of self-testing.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Viral Respiratory Tract Infections. Respirovirus Infections > WC 506 COVID-19
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Clinical Sciences & International Health > Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Programme (MLW)
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Amy Carroll
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2023 09:25
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 09:25


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