The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved several over-the-counter Covid-19 tests on Thursday, which can be used without a prescription, which provides a way for schools, workplaces and other groups to conduct rapid screening.
The so-called antigen test can provide faster results with less laboratory work, and can be used to quickly and frequently detect people’s infections, especially those who are asymptomatic and have the risk of unknowingly spreading the virus. People.
According to the FDA, rapid antigen testing is particularly useful for continuous testing. It involves “multiple testing of the same person within a few days and may increase the chance of asymptomatic infection, which may not always occur through a single test.”
The FDA said that the newly authorized diagnostic test requires users to collect samples with nasal swabs, which can help schools, workplaces, communities, and other groups establish procedures for conducting serial tests.
The FDA’s authorization covers Quidel’s QuickVue at-home OTC Covid-19 test and multiple versions of the Abbott BinaxNOW test, including a test designed to be used at home and another test that can be used in an on-site care setting, such as a doctor’s office. , No prescription required.
The FDA also approved another point-of-care test developed by the medical technology company BD, which allows continuous screening by prescription.
Rapid antigen testing will become an important tool for public health officials to track the virus, and this tool will spread the virus as the country opens up and life resumes.
Dr. Michael Mina, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard University’s TH Chan Public School, said: “As we learn more about how long the vaccine’s immunity lasts and how the variants evolve, frequent rapid testing will be very important for the coming months and even years. Important.” Sheng said in a statement.
The antigen test is designed to detect viral protein fragments that trigger an immune response in the body. These tests are not as sensitive as polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests, the latter being the main method of screening for Covid-19. Therefore, antigen testing may produce false negative results, which makes frequent testing even more important.
Mina said in the statement: “We know that frequent testing is crucial, because anyone can be exposed to this virus until they become infected.” “The best way to combat transmission is to provide people with real-time understanding. Its a contagious tool.”