New Antigen Test to Detect COVID-19 could help Triage Patients


Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the planet, the availability of a rapid, reliable, and relatively cheap diagnostic testing at point of care is key to prevent the spread of the disease. In a bid to detect COVID-19 infections, recently, scientists in Europe evaluated the frontline capabilities of the commercial availability of a 15-minute disposable antigen test. The findings is available for access in the journal Frontiers in Medicine.

The finding says, “The test could be useful as a broader triage strategy to slow down the spread of the virus. The virus that has infected more than 7 million people worldwide and is a cause of about 250,000 deaths.”

Detection of Infections to aid Charting of Quarantine Measures

Meanwhile, detection of viral infections in patients visiting primary care centers would allow patients to rapidly identify foci of new outbreak. Further, this would help healthcare workers to define quarantine measures for suspect patients and/or high viral shedders to prevent the spread of the disease.

For the two-phase study, scientists examined the sensitivity and specificity of the new test during developmental stage in the lab and for real-world samples. The latter involved testing samples of more than 300 patients previously infected. For this group of patients, the overall accuracy of the test was 82 percent, with an overall sensitivity of 57.6 percent and overall specificity of 99.5 percent.

This implies, the test detected COVID-19 infection in about six out of 10 individuals, and was also perfect to determine if an infection was not present. Meanwhile, the test bore higher sensitivity for patients with higher viral loads, to positively identify an infection in about seven out of 10 people.

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