Knowing your COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kits: OTC, POC, and Lab-Based

You may be wondering what does OTC/POC/Lab-Based mean in your COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kits. It is actually a piece of important information as it indicates the intended use of the test kits and how they got authorized by Health Canada under the interim order.

When the manufacturers of the test kits apply for the authorization, they have to ensure that “performance claims are supported by studies carried out: for the intended users in the intended setting and under the intended conditions of use” (, 2021).

OTC (over-the-counter)

For at-home use, can be purchased and used by the public.

POC (point-of-care testing)

Training is required for anyone collecting or observing self-collected nasal swabs and for all individuals performing these tests, to ensure that important quality and reporting standards are met.


Must be conducted in a lab environment by a trained laboratory technician, and should not be used by the general public.

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kits Comparison Table

For more information:

Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Testing Program

Rapid Antigen Testing for COVID-19

Testing devices for COVID-19: Point-of-care and self-testing devices