Rapid antigen tests have quickly proven to be a mighty tool in the fight against COVID-19—especially when conducted on a widespread scale and with clear and rigorous protocols.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it more than just disease. It’s also accompanied by fear, uncertainty, isolation, and loneliness. Things we used to take for granted—attending our favorite events, gathering with loved ones, or even making a trip to the grocery store—now can carry large questions. What if we catch the virus? What if we unknowingly give it to someone else? How can we protect ourselves and those around us?
Fortunately, rapid antigen testing has proven to be a valuable tool in the fight against COVID-19. Inexpensive and easy to use, this test is capable of dramatically reducing disease transmission—especially when used on a broad scale using proper protocols—and giving comfort to many as we return to daily activities.
Antigen testing: what is it and how does it work?
Rapid antigen tests are designed to detect high viral loads in the body—that is, the time when a person is most contagious and therefore most likely to spread the virus. The tests are easy to use and can be done by anyone from the comfort of their home through a simple nasopharyngeal swab. Results are available in 30 minutes or less and are remarkably accurate; the tests produced by Innova Medical Group have proven to have nearly 100% sensitivity on people who are infectious with a false positive rate of only .3%.
Rapid antigen tests are at their most effective when incorporated into standard COVID-19 protocols. In the UK, many citizens have been given access to tests for free and are encouraged to use them twice a week, whether or not they have symptoms. This is critical, as 1 in 3 people who become infected with the virus don’t show symptoms, and those who don’t know they’re contagious can unknowingly spread the disease. Given the exponential nature of the virus’ spread and the heightened contagiosity of new strains like the Delta variant, catching and managing asymptomatic cases is a crucial part of breaking the chain of transmission and reducing the infection rate.
Studies in safety protocols
Evidence supporting these measures has been collected in a number of studies, including one conducted in Liverpool, England. Between November 6, 2020, and April 30, 2021, 6,300 people who declared no symptoms tested positive for the virus using rapid antigen tests; altogether, it’s estimated serial testing reduced COVID-19 cases in Liverpool by more than a fifth while increasing case detection by 18%.
The UK government also conducted a detailed study between April 17 and May 15, 2021. During this time, the government piloted nine events, from a business event of 149 people to the Football Association Cup final attended by more than 18,500. Attendees were required to provide a negative rapid antigen test in order to be admitted to the events. Of the more than 58,000 people who attended, only 28 cases of COVID-19 were recorded afterward. Compared to the now famous superspreader event in Mount Vernon, Washington, in which one person infected 52 others during the course of a single choir practice the UK study demonstrates remarkably low transmission rates that offer a high degree of hope.
The pilot events conducted in the UK studied more than just the number of confirmed cases. It also looked at a host of information specific to each event, like whether it was held indoors or outdoors, the “pinch points” of each venue—areas where people crowded together for a period of time, such as bathrooms—ventilation, CO2 levels, adherence to social distancing and face coverings, and more. This research provides incredibly valuable information about how to move forward with safely reopening public spaces and what protections should be put into place to maximize safety across a range of venues and circumstances.
The right protocols for you
Along with our rapid and reliable antigen tests, Innova Medical Group’s experience spans more than 20 countries across four different continents, giving us the expertise to offer customized testing and health protocols for clients around the globe. No matter the activity or circumstance, our medical experts can help you define and implement the best possible solutions to keep communities, companies, schools, universities, and more safe and healthy. We even offer a mobile app allowing healthcare providers and individuals to track and manage COVID-19 statuses in complete confidentiality, making for a comprehensive tool supporting the return to daily life, a thriving economy, and more.
Contact us today to learn how Innova Medical Group can support your organization’s return to normalcy.