An antigen test detects the presence of viral RNA. Usually, this requires taking a swab from the nose and throat and then analysing the specimen in the lab using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This new innovative technology now allows sputum saliva to be used instead of intrusive methods such as nasal intrusive testing.
- It aims to see if the virus is detectable now and is taken to diagnose infection
- Test following infection to see if the virus has been cleared
- Screen asymptomatic individuals to detect if they carry virus and are potentially infectious
These tests are a crucial part of mitigating transmission as we come out of lockdown. We need the ability to detect the carriage of covid-19 and respond to it rapidly. As people return to work and society tentatively re-opens, robust testing programmes as part of a return to work strategy will be key to reduce spread and improve confidence amongst employees and customers.