As the whole country is poised to anticipate the eventual return to business as usual, the logistics of testing for the novel coronavirus remains an issue nationwide. While the PCR (swab) tests yield the most accurate results, the “gold standard” of testing comes at a high cost. People want fast, accurate, and cheap testing solutions, but it seems we can only have two of these qualities at a time.
While the rapid antibody testing offers a more affordable and accessible alternative, problems with accuracy often render rapid antibody test results almost invalid. Moreover, rapid antibody tests detect antibodies present, usually during the recovery phase when many opportunities for clinical intervention have passed.
A possible solution is a third testing option that bridges this gap. Antigen testing is a new type of diagnostic test specifically designed for rapid detection of the virus that causes Covid-19. Significantly more accessible than a swab test and more accurate than the rapid antibody test, antigen testing detects fragments of proteins found on or within the virus by using swab samples collected from the nasal cavity.
Although PCR tests have a higher sensitivity compared to the new antigen testing, this new diagnostic test can be more easily used as point-of-care tests in urgent care centers such as hospitals and even workplaces. Antigen testing doesn’t require expensive equipment and trained specialists, making these tests easier and cheaper to administer.
An antigen test can yield results within 15-30 minutes, making it more suitable for testing in the communities as well as remote regions. It is also the new preferred screening tool in both hospitals and workplaces.
“Accurate and timely diagnosis of infected Covid-19 patients is crucial as the disease is easily transmitted during active infection. We are after solutions that help us intervene in a timely manner in order to systematically contain the virus,” says AFP infectious diseases specialist Dr. Ma. Melissa Monica L. Turao-Agoncillo.
Paving the way for a safer and economical reopening for local business, Firstline Solutions aims to aid and facilitate a smoother transition as the country moves towards restoring economic activity nationwide. In line with its vision to democratize local disease management mechanisms, Firstline Solutions is among the pioneer distributors of the new FDA-approved antigen testing kits, which can contribute significantly to the improvement of the testing rate in the Philippines.
For more information about the new diagnostic antigen testing, email [email protected].