To understand our physical condition, it is often necessary to visit a hospital or clinic to do a blood test. However, operations of many medical institutions have been affected by the epidemic, causing much inconvenience to the public.
To help overcome this problem the Prenetics Group has launched several home blood test products under the name Circle Snapshot, that allow citizens to collect blood samples by themselves to test for COVID-19 virus antibody levels, heart health, and other health problems.
Among them, the COVID-19 virus test kit which costs about HK$700 (US$89.2) can measure the level of COVID-19 virus antibodies in the range from 0 to 40,000 AU/mL. With this product, citizens no longer have to go to a clinic to draw blood in order to test the effect of their vaccine, or whether or not they have been infected with COVID-19.
The company has also launched food allergy and heart health test products, and it expects to launch more than 50 home blood testing products in the next 12 months.
Under the instructions of company staff, our reporter tried out a heart health test product which costs about HK$800 (US$102). Before drawing blood, the reporter had to download a mobile app and scan the QR code to activate the blood drawing device. After that, a heating pack was applied to the upper arm for one minute to improve blood circulation.
The skin was then sterilized, and the blood collection device was placed on the arm. When the reporter pressed on it, he felt a slight pain which was like a mosquito bite. Then it took about two minutes for the blood to slowly pass through the collector into a test tube. Finally, the test tube was taken off and sealed, and then placed in a sealed bag to complete the blood drawing procedures. After about three working days, the test results can be read through the mobile app.
Danny Yeung, CEO, and co-founder of the testing company stated that the blood samples they collected will be sent to a laboratory set up near their company for analysis to save citizens’ time going to hospitals or clinics in person. He claimed that the testing equipment they use is identical to other standard laboratories in the market, so there is “zero difference from testing in Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital” in terms of accuracy. He further mentioned that other healthy people can also use the product safely.
When answering a question about what the product apps do Snapshot replied, “Because each test product uses a different system and technology for blood analysis, and the amount of blood we collect can only allow us to test a fixed number of biomarkers, each test product is designed to focus on assessing a [particular] health condition.”