Rapid home tests may not be as good at detecting Omicron variant as prior COVID strains, FDA says


Rapid COVID-19 home tests usually tend to give a false damaging with the heavily-mutated Omicron variant in comparison with earlier strains, the Food and Drug Administration stated Tuesday.

The information comes as the nation is going through a large surge in instances that consultants say is being under-captured as a results of a testing crunch, with lengthy wait instances for the extra correct PCR tests, and home kits in extraordinarily brief provide.

In a press release, the FDA stated it was collaborating with the National Institutes of Health to review the efficiency of home tests, additionally recognized as “antigen” tests, towards affected person samples containing reside variations of the Omicron variant.

“Early data suggests that antigen tests do detect the Omicron variant but may have reduced sensitivity,” the company stated.

Sensitivity is a measure of how seemingly a check is ready to detect a optimistic.

Previous testing had centered on heat-inactivated virus samples, moderately than reside virus, which is best, and a drop-off in efficiency hadn’t been noticed till now, the assertion added.

The FDA stated it will proceed to authorize the usage of antigen tests — which work by detecting floor proteins of the coronavirus — and that people ought to proceed to make use of them in accordance with their directions.

For occasion, some speedy tests instruct customers to take two tests, a sure period of time aside, with the intention to affirm a damaging.

If an individual tests damaging with a speedy check however is assumed more likely to have COVID, both due to signs or their exposures, it’s nonetheless beneficial that they get a “gold standard” molecular check — such as PCR.

These detect the genetic materials of the virus. They’re extra correct as a result of they will make thousands and thousands of copies of the virus’ RNA, so even tiny quantities develop into detectable.

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