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What is Antigen Testing & where should it be used

Over the last few weeks, you may have seen the term ‘Rapid Antigen Testing’ appear in numerous media reports and discussions on curbing another surge of COVID19, and may be wondering what a rapid Antigen Test is. Like the more well-known PCR test, antigen testing is a diagnostic test to determine whether a virus is present in the body but unlike PCR testing, antigen tests do not need to be processed by a laboratory and work by detecting the presence of viral proteins (antigens) expressed by the COVID-19 virus in a sample from the respiratory tract of a person.

If the target antigen is present in sufficient concentrations in the sample, it will bind to specific antibodies fixed to a paper strip enclosed in a folding card format. The antigen(s) detected are expressed only when the virus is actively replicating; therefore, such tests are best used to identify acute or early infection. PCR testing will always remain the most reliable form of testing as it looks at genetic material but the speed at which rapid antigen tests can produce a result (15 minutes) means that they have a role to play in helping break the chains of transmission.

While it must be appreciated that the lab based analysis of a Nasopharyngeal PCR test is the ‘gold standard’ in picking up tiny trace amounts of virus, it also has the handicap of being overly sensitive and will indicate positive on dead virus cells when a patient is no longer infectious.
The theory behind Rapid Antigen Testing (using either via Nasopharyngeal, Oropharyngeal or Anterior Nasal swab samples) is that a Positive indication is a clear indication of a person (either symptomatic or asymptomatic) with high viral loads and most likely in a shedding or infectious stage.  The LEPU test kit is based on an Anterior Nasal swab, which is not uncomfortable and no more invasive than swirling a cotton bud inside your nostril to about 2cms depth.

Lepu tests have been approved by the EU and included on their listing:

They have also been independently assessed and approved in Germany and Austria, among other EU states.  The Austrian government have now ordered in the region of 30m test kits for use by students & teachers and German orders are appx 25m kits.

This form of testing is ideal to use in a number of settings where multiple individuals are required to be in close proximity and social distancing is not always achievable such as factories, schools, and construction sites. Along with existing protective measures, rapid antigen tests can reduce the spread of an outbreak by identifying further cases on the spot. When one case is identified all close contacts can be tested immediately and over the following days to isolate additional infected individuals.

Rapid Tests such as Lepu Medical’s SARS-CoV-2, which tested at 95.06% sensitivity and 99.62% specificity in clinical trials, are an added line of defence against outbreaks when added to a company’s COVID management strategy. Both in the case of a confirmed case and ideally to be used twice weekly by personnel to catch the infection before it has a chance to spread.

Green Egg Consultants source medical supplies for European government and private sectors, their Lepu Medical SARS-CoV-2 single-use rapid antigen testing kits are one of only 16 approved by the EU commission and carry an RRP of €9.95. For more information on the kits themselves or to place an order please contact