As the sole screening mechanism for COVID in real-time population management, PCR testing is not enough. Rapid antigen testing plays an integral, complementary role to PCR confirmatory testing. Regular testing with rapid results, multiple times a week, can greatly help prevent and control COVID outbreaks and avoid costly quarantines.
PCR tests are often considered the “gold standard” of testing as they are extremely sensitive and good at detecting the presence of the virus at extremely low levels of viral load. Because these tests can detect viral fragments even without virus, individuals will likely test PCR positive long after they have transmissible virus. According to Harvard School of Public Health Professor Michael Mina, MD, PhD, 40-80% of the time a patient is PCR positive, the individual is post infectious. Though sensitive and good at detecting if a person was infected by the virus, PCR tests are expensive and slow, making them less than ideal when screening large populations.
Rapid antigen tests, on the other hand, are excellent at detecting infectiousness and decreasing community spread. Unlike PCR tests, rapid antigen tests are more affordable and provide results in 10-15 minutes, allowing for the ability for regular, widespread testing. In a study by the University of Colorado BioFrontiers Institute and Harvard Chan School of Public Health, when used twice a week, widespread rapid testing reduced the degree of infectiousness of the virus by 80%, compared to twice (2x) weekly PCR only testing (with 48 hour results), which reduced infectiousness by 58%.
For population management, serial rapid testing is more effective than infrequent, PCR only testing.
Due to the frequency and timeliness of results, rapid antigen tests add value in triaging and contact tracing infectious individuals. “Incorporating rapid antigen tests in population management protocols will help crush this pandemic.” said Reeve Benaron, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Intrivo. “These tests serve as a crucial screening tool and a key part to stopping COVID-19 from spreading. Frequent rapid antigen testing can reduce the degree of infectiousness of the virus considerably more than a PCR-only testing protocol.”
Incorporating frequent rapid antigen tests into organization testing protocols can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and provide quick and accurate results that measure of contagiousness and reduce the rate of infection.
The CareStart™ COVID-19 Antigen test has not been FDA cleared or approved. This test has been authorized by FDA under an EUA for use by authorized laboratories and at the Point of Care by medical professionals operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation.
The CareStartTM COVID-19 Antigen test is manufactured by Access Bio Inc. for Intrivo. CarestartTM is a trademark of Access Bio, Inc.