Medical Technology

COVID Rapid Antigen Tests Correlate With Short-term Infectiousness

(Reuters) – Although rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 may result in false negatives if viral loads are low These cases could suggest that the virus is not yet transmissible, a new study suggests.

Researchers performed rapid antigen tests using swabs from 181 individuals with confirmed PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and then tried to culture the virus on swabs. A study published on medRxiv before peer review revealed that virus particles failed to grow when viral loads were lower than detection levels.

Dr. James Kirby, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said that people with low viral loads and negative blood tests may be infected “a day, two or three days later.” Antigen tests should be administered promptly prior to any event or contact with people at higher risk of infection.

Swabs must be collected for testing with care and in accordance with the directions provided with the testing kits, he said. “In other words, you want to get a thorough and accurate sample of the inside of your nose.”

SOURCE: medRxiv, online December 23, 2021.

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