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Beware of Sodium Azua

Recently, 55 poison control centers in the US recorded over 200 cases of poisoning with rapid test kits COVID-19 in all states. The poison in question is Sodium Azide – which is used to preserve the sample extract. Among the poisoning cases were many children due to accidentally swallowing the sample extract in the test kit.

Sodium azide is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula NaN3. This odorless azure salt is the gas-generating ingredient in many types of car airbag systems. It is an ionic compound and is soluble in water. Sodium Azide is very toxic. In hospitals and laboratories, it is a bactericidal agent because Sodium Azide acts as a bacteriostatic agent by inhibiting cytochrome oxidase enzyme activity in gram-negative bacteria. It is also used in agriculture to control diseases that damage crops.

Beware of Sodium Azide - the poison found in the COVID-19 rapid test - 1

Some chemicals used to preserve rapid test are potentially harmful to health if exposed for a long time. (Illustration)

Symptoms of poisoning from inhaling or ingesting small amounts of Sodium Azide include eye and skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, weakness, blurred vision… High doses of sodium Azide exposure have been fatal (10-13mg/kg) due to dyspnea, respiratory failure, hypotension, bradycardia, hypothermia, acidosis, convulsions, and coma .

There is currently no specific antidote for Sodium Azide. Patients who survive poisoning also leave behind serious sequelae in the lungs, heart and brain. Some test kits approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for circulation only accept concentrations of Sodium Azide not exceeding 0.1%. However, in commercially available test kits, this concentration can be higher and potentially pose a lot of risk to users’ health.

How to avoid?

– Only buy and use COVID-19 rapid tests approved for circulation by the Ministry of Health.

– During use, avoid getting the buffer solution on your hands.

– When you accidentally put the wire in your hands or eyes, you need to wash it immediately with clean water for 15-20 minutes.

– Keep the rapid test out of the reach of children.

– All used test materials are considered infectious waste and should be collected and disposed of in accordance with regulations. Garbage is collected into a yellow bag, tightly tied at the mouth of the bag and put in another yellow bag, continuing to fasten the mouth of the bag.

– If children accidentally swallow, need to immediately go to the nearest medical facility.

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