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Another Point of Care Covid-19 Antigen Test

Is it a game changer?  Maybe slightly.  Abbott's BivaxNOW Covid-19 Antigen Card is like a pregnancy test, takes only 15 minutes, and only costs $5.  A nasal swab sample is applied to a card and when the Sars-CoV-19-nucleoside antibody on the card detects the virus a pink line forms below the positive control line.  The square with the arrow on the card is where this happy patient's sample reads negative.

But the test, which does not require a machine to read the result, still needs to be performed in a doctors office, clinic, or other health care facility.  In addition the test has to be performed within 7 days of the onset of symptoms making this a diagnostic test, not a surveillance test for public health detection. 

Last week the FDA gave an Emergency Use Approval (EUA) based on only 102 samples tested.  The sensitivity and specificity which were excellent were thus determined on a very small patient group. The results are saved in a free app on the patient's phone and can provide an ongoing record of test results.  But will they be also be reported to the Dept. of Health?   This Abbott BivaxNOW test will now be scaled up this month - millions of the tests have been purchased by the US Government.   Continue Reading Below

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Dr. Michael Mina an epidemiologist/scientist from Harvard, advocates for a simple public health test based on the same principle, i.e. like a home pregnancy test, but the FDA hasn't yet approved "at home tests." I've discussed the "Rapid At Home Test" previously, and I'm hoping that the Abbott approval may be an early indication that the "at home tests" may also soon be approved.  When it is available, it will allow people to do frequent tests on themselves and their family.  If they are infectious (and not symptomatic) they can stay home when the test is positive.  There is a good correlation between the period of viral shedding and the test turning positive within 1-2 days.  If this test is approved, it will be a better way to control the pandemic. 

 

 

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