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Can rapid antigen tests successfully detect new Covid variants? Study answers

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the rapid tests were developed for use with the original SARS-CoV-2 viral strain that emerged late in 2019, it is possible that they may not remain sensitive to the new and more infectious variants.

The conclusion was reached after scientists at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in the US used live virus culture to assess how well four rapid antigen tests are able to detect these Covid-19 variants of concern.

Using three strains of cultured live virus, the team assessed differences in the limits of detection (LoD) – the smallest amount of viral antigen detectable at 95% certainty – of four commercially available rapid antigen tests; the Binax, CareStart, GenBody and LumiraDx tests.

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