NIH-funded screening study builds case for frequent COVID-19 antigen testing

Angie Szumlinski Studies

In a highly anticipated study that compares rapid antigen and laboratory PCR approaches for COVID-19 serial screening, researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative reported that both testing methods were equally effective in detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection when tests were given on a regular cadence every three days. While individual PCR tests are more sensitive than antigen tests, particularly early in infection, the results showed that both testing approaches can give 98% sensitivity when taken regularly as part of a screening program. Because antigen tests at the point of care or at home can deliver immediate results and are less costly than laboratory tests, these results suggest that they could be a highly effective screening tool to prevent disease outbreaks.