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Are Rapid Antigen Tests Accurate?

Now that Rapid Antigen tests have been on the market for about two months these are our thoughts on their usefulness and accuracy…

Rapid Antigen tests have been in the spotlight since the White House announced the purchase of millions of Abbott’s test, touted to be the white horse we’ve needed to improve capacity and “open up” the country. We onboarded a South Korean rapid antigen test (RAD for short) nearly 60 days ago but were reticent about it’s ability to replace PCR testing and therefore limited when and for whom we would deploy this newer technology in COVID-19 testing.

Are Rapid Antigen Tests Accurate?Rapid Test for COVID-19

Our experience with the GenBody RAD kit from South Korea has been exceptional and to date we have zero false positives and no reported false negatives.

The probable reason for the exceptional accuracy is in who we are testing. We are strict in using this test for healthy groups and ensure we are not using Rapid Antigen Tests to detect potential infection in people that are likely to have a weak or lagging immuno-response to infection.

That means we don’t use it to test people with comorbidities, chronic illness, the elderly, and anyone on an immuno-suppressant such a Remicade or Humira.

Using the right test for the population being served yields the best results.

When a company reports test data as to the FDA upon entry to the market there is a lot of nuance. One key factor in determining whether a test is say 95% as opposed to 80% is variance in the groups sampled during trial use.

Because all companies are required to test an array of people (young and old, frail and healthy) the accuracy number assigned that test represents how it will perform among the general population.

By using a test that we know to be less accurate in higher risk groups for healthier populations only, there is potential for the value of the test to improve.

Our testing practices, being stringent and fairly conservative, is a key contributor to the success we’ve had in deploying this very useful rapid result tool.

The groups we serve stand to benefit from rapid results in a manner not possible with PCR testing and we are proud to be in a position to keep people safe, businesses open, schools operating, players playing and production houses at work.