Following on from Dr Elize de Bruyn's article "What do my Covid results mean? we @Atter Pathology Services wanted to look a little closer at Antigen tests. Currently (mid June 2021) in Johannesburg, 4-5 Antigen tests are being conducted for every 1 PCR test...why?
Possible reasons could include quick results (15 minutes), lower cost (R300 - R420 vs R850 for the PCR test) or a lack of understanding of the different tests. There is a huge amount of information on the topic and we suggest everyone looks to the experts at WHO, Africa CDC, and South Africa's NICD.
This weekend I was amazed to see research by Ireland's Health Service Executive which showed that Abbott Laboratories' Panbio rapid antigen test, which is commonly used in South Africa, misses half of COVID-19 cases in asymptomatic people.
The finding, which is in line with the results of a UK study of a rival test sold by Innova, led Ireland's Health Service Executive to recommend AGAINST using single, standalone antigen kits for the purposes of asymptomatic screening.
This author's view is if you are NOT showing symptoms of Covid-19, then an antigen test is money wasted. PCR testing is the only approved SAPHRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority) test to produce an accurate result to everyone.