Experts will not deny that, when it comes to detecting SARS-CoV-2, PCR tests are highly reliable to deliver effective results, which of course is a critical part in fighting this unprecedented global healthcare emergency. To be honest, they remain the gold standard and definitely the method of choice in Canada’s screening strategy… But what if PCR tests are less available? What if faster results are needed? What if quick isolation of COVID-19 cases is necessary? What if we would bring testing to the patient rather than the other way around? Let’s stop for a minute and think how SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test can be an ally in the fight against COVID-19.
First things first: Rapid Antigen tests are different from PCR tests
- With results ready in 15 minutes, SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Tests increases Canada’s testing capacity at the point of care.
- They reliably and quickly triage people suspected of COVID-19 allowing informed decisions including rapid isolation.
- Instrument-free testing kits enable convenient use and a seamless workflow for healthcare professionals at different point of care locations or in resource-limited settings.
Testing is necessary even if vaccinated
We know, by now some of you are probably vaccinated, and you think testing is not necessary anymore. But vaccines are not a cure and science has demonstrated that even when vaccinated, you can still carry the virus and infect others. Even if the risks of transmission and severe complications are reduced, there are risks, nonetheless. Symptomatic or asymptomatic, vaccinated or not, respecting the sanitary measures and getting tested is the least we can do to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
Rapid Antigen testing to enjoy your normal
Imagine you want to attend concerts, sports events or any other indoor or outdoor gathering. Well, as we have seen in other countries, it is not impossible that soon a negative test result would be required to have access to these activities. Rapid tests can make the testing experience faster and easier, so you do not miss your favourite activities. Of course, if the result is positive, a PCR test would then be needed to confirm the result.
Rapid Antigen testing for all sectors of activity
Rapid testing can play an important role especially in places where laboratory testing is not easily available and quick results are needed, such as nursing homes, events, healthcare facilities, workplaces and schools.
Did you know?
In January 2021, the COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel identified four priority areas for action published in their report titled “Priority strategies to optimize testing and screening for COVID-19 in Canada”, one of which includes the deployment of rapid tests for screening.
Rapid Antigen testing to support a safe reopening of the Canadian economy
The Industry Advisory Roundtable on COVID-19 Testing, Screening, Tracing and Data Management released a report1 that reiterates the importance of using rapid tests to screen for COVID-19 in workplace settings. Rapid tests help with the quick isolation of positive COVID-19 cases to keep the rest of the workplace safe and support the economic recovery.
Rapid testing is also supported by Medtech Canada and its members including Roche Diagnostics. In a position paper2 that highlights a series of recommendations calling for comprehensive testing strategies, including the deployment of rapid antigen tests, Medtech Canada urged provincial governments to fully use all available tools in the toolbox in order to help Canadians go back to a more normal life, reopen the economy and save lives.
New recommendations from the Federal Government
Recently, the Government of Canada increased the availability of rapid test kits for workers across the country. The goal is to ensure rapid access to these tests by working with various industries to support the screening for high-contact workers in critical sectors.
This initiative can help organizations detect cases earlier, better protect their workforce and reduce community transmission while keeping the economy running.
1. Priority strategies to optimize testing and screening for COVID-19 in Canada: Report https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/medical-devices/testing-screening-advisory-panel/reports-summaries/priority-strategies.html#a9
2. Medtech Canada Position Paper: Call for Comprehensive COVID-19 Testing Strategies in Canada https://cdn.ymaws.com/medtechcanada.org/resource/resmgr/Medtech_Canada_Position_Pape.pdf