Serial Testing

Stay Open with Serial Testing

Serial testing, or testing that is repeated at different points in time, is more likely to detect infection than testing done at a single point in time. The SARS CoV-2 virus has a 3-5 day incubation period during which time the virus cannot be detected. Because of this incubation period, a test done at a single point is not reliable in determining if an individual is infected with the virus.

Additionally, 30% of people with infections are unaware they are carrying the virus until they may have already become contagious to others. Serial testing can help identify asymptomatic carriers and help avoid the unintentional spread of COVID-19.

5 Reasons to Use Serial Testing to Prevent the Next Outbreak

  1. Repeated testing is more likely to detect infection than testing done at a single point in time
  2. >30% infected individuals will remain asymptomatic
  3. Approx. 59% of all transmission is caused by people without symptoms
  4. Breakthrough infections rises as protection from vaccines wanes
  5. Not everyone is vaccinated or eligible to be vaccinated

The SARS CoV-2 virus has a 3-5 day incubation period. During that time, the virus cannot be detected. A test done at a single point in time cannot determine if the subject is infected with the virus.

Benefits of Serial Testing with Rapid Antigen Tests

Proven in Real Life

Serial testing has been proven effective in identifying individuals that are infectious to others, which in turns keeps businesses and economies open.

 

In a report3 published by a group of government agencies in the UK in June 2021, daily contact testing was proven useful in sustaining key services such as police, fire departments, and hospitals in Liverpool. Through daily testing of individuals those who were in contact with COVID-19 positive individuals, a total of 17 cases were identified among 768 participants. The 17 cases were identified throughout a 7-day period, from day 0 to day 7. If testing was only done on a particular day, most of the cases would have gone undetected leading to a shutdown of the essential services soon after that.

Additionally, 30% of people with infections are unaware they are carrying the virus until they may have already become contagious to others. Serial testing can help identify asymptomatic carriers and help avoid the unintentional spread of COVID-19.

Comparable to RT-PCR

Since November 2020, the UK has adopted a nationwide serial testing strategy utilizing the rapid antigen test (also known as an LFT-Lateral Flow Test). A recent review4 of over 1.7 million tests performed in 10 different UK testing strategy studies demonstrated that the test was able to detect more than 93% of infections and asymptomatic individuals (11). They also concluded that rapid antigen testing when used in repeated serial testing is comparable to RT-PCR in detecting infectious individuals.

Mina MJ, Parker R, Larremore DB. Rethinking COVID-19 test sensitivity—A strategy for containment. N Engl J Med2020;383:e120. doi:10.1056/NEJMp2025631 pmid: 32997903