Antigen diagnostic test kits have a fundamental role to play in Ireland’s testing system if society is to adapt to long-term life with Covid-19 according to MyBio, the award-winning Kilkenny-based life sciences company and Ireland’s premium supplier of pharmaceutical research products, technology, and expertise, which has published a white paper on ‘The Role of Antigen Testing in the Plan for Living with Covid-19’.
Commenting on the paper, Managing Director of MyBio, Linda Nolan said: “As the Government considers NPHET’s recommendation to move to a national Level 5 of its ‘Plan for Living with Covid-19’, our study demonstrates why antigen testing should be recognised as a game changer in terms of offering an option for significant ramped-up testing. With increasing demand for the State’s current Covid-19 PCR testing and growing public impatience for faster results, rapid antigen testing is becoming an essential tool to quickly and accurately track, trace and limit the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.
“We are currently working with other governments worldwide who are looking to adapt antigen testing as part of their strategy for living with Covid-19. We believe this is a mechanism that the Irish Government must consider as part of its ‘Plan for Living with Covid-19’, particularly as the State’s current system comes under further strain during the winter months. The advantage of antigen testing is that it is low-cost and can be delivered on site, with no need to send samples off to labs meaning much needed capacity in the national system can be released if negative results are delivered.”
Advocates for antigen testing include leading Harvard epidemiologist Dr Michael Mina, who is a vocal proponent of the role that rapid antigen tests can play in defeating the virus. Dr Mina argues that while the use of clinical PCR testing is necessary for testing symptomatic people, antigen testing provides a faster and more cost-effective solution for monitoring the asymptomatic spread of Covid-19 in the community.
The Centre for Global Development estimates that there is a 50 per cent chance of a vaccine by April 2021 and an 85 per cent chance of one by December 2021. The centre’s modelling suggests that it will probably take more than a year to produce enough vaccines to inoculate the world’s 50 million medical staff, and that it could be September 2023 before we have enough doses for the whole world. The Chief Executive of the HSE has echoed this by warning that Ireland will be dealing with the virus for a long time.
Commenting on MyBio’s Covid-19 antigen testing product, Dr Nolan added: “As part of our ongoing innovation in the area of diagnostics, MyBio partnered with German manufacturer MöLab GmbH to bring an antigen diagnostic test kit to the Irish market. With an accuracy rate of 99 per cent, the kit is the most accurate product on the global market and delivers a positive or negative result in 15 minutes. The test is designed to supplement rather than replace the current State testing system through mass and rapid deployment, allowing for quick and constant testing before potential positive cases go to the time and expense of taking the official State test.
“Questions have been raised about the longer-term strategy for testing in Ireland, given the delays involved in the current HSE testing system which is causing disruptions for schools, nursing homes and businesses in general. Currently, the median turn-around time for a negative test result is two days, and three days for a test that turns out to be positive; and in some cases, people are waiting up to five days for a result.
“MyBio is already dispensing antigen tests to a customer base of nursing homes, manufacturers, healthcare distributors, construction companies, hotels and health clubs across Ireland. We have seen first-hand, the positive benefits and impacts this form of testing has had for responsible employers seeking to create precautionary and preventative rapid testing strategies in the workplace to remain open and operational. A growing demand from our customers clearly illustrates the significant need that exists for quick and accurate testing in Ireland and we are very confident that antigen testing can address the capacity issues at a national level.”
The antigen test which is certified by the European CE Marking for In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) devices, is administered using a nasopharyngeal swab to obtain a sample for testing. The test kit includes test cassettes, sterile swabs, extraction tubes, dropper tips for extraction tubes, buffer, workstation, and a package insert.
For further information, visit www.mybio.ie