Where to Source Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

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There is a comical post on Facebook that says “Who would have thought that 2021 would start with a mouse plague and end up with a shortage of rats”. The rats here are Rapid Antigen Tests, otherwise known as RATs.

There are two pathology test that can determine if you test positive to COVID-19:

1. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus in your body. They can also detect fragments of the virus even after you are no longer infected. PCR tests are administered by medical personnel at testing centres.
2. RATs are self-administered rapid diagnostic tests that directly detects the presence or absence of COVID-19.

Some people are electing to purchase RATs from suppliers rather than undertake PCR testing. However, getting your hands on a RAT has proven to be a difficult task of late, but thankfully one Australian has taken steps to made sourcing one much easier.

Matt Hayward is software engineer and the co-founder and director of Pipelabs, who has been using his skills to help people out during the pandemic.

He was behind the VicExposureSiteBot on Twitter, until Victoria stopped reporting exposure sites, and earlier this month launched his new endeavour, findarat.com.au to help people source RATs. In less than a day, around half a million people visited the site and Mr Hayward said the response has been well received.

The listing depends on RAT retailers informing Matt of the availability of tests. A quick check to see whether Yass Valley retailers have got on board with the site shows an absence of information. According to the site there are no RATs available in Yass, three RAT retailers in Canberra (Devlin’s City Chemist, Costco, and Big W Canberra City) are out of RATs, and no RATs in Goulburn.

Given the shortage of RATs, your best bet, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, is to get a PCR test at Yass Walker Park Drive-through Clinic. The opening days and times are listed here: COVID-19 clinics - COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (nsw.gov.au)

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