Antigen Tests and the fight against COVID-19
With the spread of COVID-19 and increase in infection rate, antigen tests are an extra measure we can take to help protect ourselves and contacts from COVID-19. It is recommended to take antigen tests if you regularly frequent high-risk environments such as cinemas, theatres, pubs and restaurants or are in frequent contact with others (https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/covid19/testing/using-antigen-tests/)
What is a COVID-19 antigen test?
A COVID-19 antigen test detects the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19/Coronavirus) proteins in the mouth and/or throat. The test can be used to determine if someone is currently infected with COVID-19. It is less accurate than a PCR test as a high viral load is required to detect the virus which is typically at its lowest at the beginning and end of the infectious period.
Accuracy, specificity and sensitivity: What is the difference?
When choosing an antigen test, it is important to note the specificity and sensitivity rating as well as test results accuracy
The Specificity score indicates the ability for an antigen test to correctly identify patients who are NOT infected with COVID-19
The Sensitivity score indicates the ability for the antigen test to correctly identify patients who ARE infected with COVID-19
The Accuracy score indicates how exact the above measurements can be - i.e., the ability for the test to differentiate between an infected and non-infected person
How do you take an Antigen Test?
An antigen test can be easily self-administered however it is crucial that it is done correctly. Before taking a test, ensure to read the manufacturer's instructions provided before commencing. This includes removing any test kit component packaging in order to minimise the risk of contamination.
Before administrating the test, ensure surface area and hands are clean and disinfected.
The HSE Ireland has provided an informational video on how to administer a test and is available to watch here.
Which test manufacturer is the best?
There are various brands and manufacturers on the market. The EU Commission has developed a common list of rapid antigen tests that align with countries' testing strategies and must carry the CE marking.
Approved manufacturers included on the list meet the minimum sensitivity and specificity requirements as defined by both the EU Commission and the ECDC. A complete list is available here.
The Boson Biotech Rapid Antigen Test has been on list since the 10th of May 2021 with a 100% specificity rating when evaluated by the Paul Ehrlich Institute.
Should you have any further questions on antigen tests, contact our sales team here or on 091 745150