Rapid COVID Tests May Not Be Able To Detect Omicron Variant

Rapid COVID Tests May Not Be Able To Detect Omicron Variant
Source – CIDRAP

Rapid Covid-19 home tests are more likely to result in a false negative when used with the highly mutated Omicron variant, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated Tuesday.


Rapid COVID Tests May Not Be Able To Detect Omicron Variant 

Rapid Covid-19 home tests are more likely to result in a false negative when used with the highly mutated Omicron variant, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated Tuesday.

The discovery comes as the nation sees a large increase in cases that experts believe are being under-reported due to a testing shortage, with lengthy wait times for more accurate PCR tests and a severely limited supply of home kits.

The FDA said in a statement that it is partnering with the National Institutes of Health to examine the performance of home testing, sometimes known as “antigen" tests, against patient samples containing live versions of the Omicron variant.

Source - Keralty

Early data suggests that antigen tests do detect the Omicron variant but may have reduced sensitivity,” the agency said.

Sensitivity is a measure that reflects how likely a test is to detect a positive.

Previously conducted testing employed heat-inactivated viral samples rather than live virus samples, which is preferable, and a performance drop-off was not seen until now, the statement stated.

The FDA said that it will continue to authorise the use of antigen tests – which identify coronavirus surface proteins – and that people should continue to use them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

For example, some rapid tests encourage customers to do two separate tests over a certain time to validate a negative result.

If an individual test negative for Covid-19 using a rapid test but is suspected of having it due to symptoms or exposures, they should still undergo a “gold standard" molecular test – such as PCR.

These are capable of detecting the virus’s genetic material. They are more precise because they can replicate the virus’s RNA millions of times, making even tiny quantities detectable.

Source – The Vibes

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