A new strategy is adopted by several governments around the world; promoting mass testing of populations. This is being done in order to control the transmission lines of COVID-19 as quickly as possible.
- The Americans expect to have around 1 million rapid tests available for anyone who feels sick. In this way that person can do a test before leaving home and avoid overloading the PCR testing facilities.
- The British are giving out free lateral flow tests to anyone who requests through an online application.
- The Germans do 1 free antigen test per person per week, for anyone who wants it.
- The Italians and French have put on sale in pharmacies the rapid tests at very low prices (approx. 6 Euros per test).
- The Australians have also made rapid tests available in pharmacies and supermarkets.
A vast international review of studies published in March found that most antigen tests met the World Health Organization’s minimum acceptable performance standards.
Another study from the University College London found accuracy rates of around 80% in antigen tests used in the UK – this is higher than the international review, but below the levels provided by the PCR test.
This strategy is a very important tool to help reduce the transmission of new COVID-19 cases.
It is ready at our fingertips; let’s be wise, use it and help keep us all to stay safe.