Rapid antigen testing in Australia is set to be stepped up over coming months as the nation begins to reopen from the Delta COVID-19 outbreak.
The technology can be used at home and offers results in 15 minutes. This is compared with a waiting time of up to three days for PCR tests.
But until now, rapid tests have not been prioritised because they are not as accurate.
Jennifer Evans, chief executive of the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), told Today the testing technology offers a vital boost to Australia's testing arsenal.
"Rapid antigen testing does have a place and it's for governments to determine what that place is," she said.
Ms Evans said NATA accreditation of the tests provides confidence to governments and consumers for when there roll out is stepped up.
"Governments have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. In a given context, these tests can be used reliably but those decisions are for government."
"The reality is that rapid antigen testing does have a lower sensitivity and specificity and the government needs to assure the community that a positive result is in fact positive and that a negative result is negative."
Home testing kits are being used in the Britain, the US and European countries.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has flagged Australia's medical regulator – the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) – will approve home tests in the coming weeks or months.
"This is absolutely where the nation's heading," he told 2GB yesterday.
"We'll have not just the workplace tests, not just the PCR tests – the ones where you go to the clinics – but the home tests are on the way."
Mr Hunt said the TGA was looking at how rapid testing could be used without a health worker present.
"They're being used in workplaces in aged care elsewhere and then the next frontier is to move for approval on the home front," he said.