Antigen-detection in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection using rapid immunoassays
A new technology for COVID-19 detection has become available that is much simpler and faster to perform that currently-recommended nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), like PCR. This method relies on direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins in nasal swabs and other respiratory secretions using a lateral flow immunoassay (also called an RDT) that gives results in < 30 minutes. Though these antigen detection RDTs (Ag-RDTs) are substantially less sensitive than NAAT, they offer the possibility of rapid, inexpensive and early detection of the most infectious COVID cases in appropriate settings. Acknowledging the inadequacy of current data on the performance and operational utility of these tests, this document seeks to provide guidance to countries on considerations for integration into COVID outbreak management programmes.
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