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Corona rapid tests checked – which antigen tests are reliable?

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Omikron: rapid tests under fire - which antigen tests work?


  • Close by Sophia Lother
  • In view of the omicron variant, many people are wondering how reliable corona tests actually are. What is currently known about the antigen tests.Frankfurt – If you have a slight cold or itchy throat, many people first use a rapid antigen test. Within a few minutes, it provides an indication of whether a corona infection is present. When the tests came onto the market, the rush was great. In the meantime, many employers as well as day-care centers and schools are using the self-tests. It is all the more serious when they show incorrect results. Because then those who tested false negative could feel safe. Especially with the omicron variant, investigations came to the conclusion that the variant can possibly be less well detected by the rapid tests than its predecessors. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) has now listed which tests are most suitable.

    Omikron: Are the rapid tests less accurate for the corona variant?

    The PEI worked together with several institutes such as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and put the various rapid antigen tests in Germany to the test. Although there are opposing opinions, for example from the health authorities in the USA, the Paul Ehrlich Institute assumes that many rapid tests also recognize the omicron variant. 2021 detected the nucleoprotein (N-protein) of the coronavirus. However, the mutations in the omicron variant primarily affect the S protein,” says the PEI. It is therefore assumed that there is no influence on the reliability of the corona tests. Nevertheless, the institute emphasizes that further studies, especially with omicron-infected people, are necessary in order to be able to make a definitive statement.

    Corona: Which rapid antigen tests are suitable for detecting an infection?

    The sensitivity of the antigen rapid test offered in Germany has been randomly examined for a year. As of December 14, 2021, the Paul Ehrlich Institute tested a total of 245 corona tests. Since the investigation relates to the entire year, it is not yet possible to make an unequivocal statement regarding the omicron variant. Of these, 199 passed the evaluation – they were sensitive enough. The overall sensitivity of the antigen tests was compared with the sensitivity of the PCR test. These are considered the “gold standard among corona tests”, according to the PEI. On the other hand, the sensitivity rates of the antigen tests were examined at different viral loads. The following quick tests failed:

    review (manufacturer) Overall sensitivity in percent
    INIST COVID-19 Ag Rapid (Absology Co.,Ltd.) 0.0%
    Acro COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (Acro Biotech, Inc) 6.0%
    SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Kit [Immunochromatography] (Aikang Diagnostics Co., Ltd.) 4.0%
    New Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) N Protein Detection Kit [Fluorescence Immunchromatography](Beijing Savant Biotechnology Co., Ltd.) 0.0%
    Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test (Biopanda Reagents) 24.0%
    CerTest Biotec SARS-CoV-2 Ag Test (CertestT Biotec SL) 10.0%
    SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test [Laterial Flow Method] (Changsha Sanji Bio-technology Co.,Ltd) 8.0%
    COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip (Coris BioConcept) 12.0%
    Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test (Dejavu Medikal San. Ve Tic. Ltd. Sti) 28.0%
    DIASIA SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kit (Diasia Biomedical Technology Co., Ltd.) 22.0%
    Bioessa SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Essa Commerce Bilisim ve Ithalat Ihracat Tic.AS) 0.0%
    FAMEX® SARS-CoV-2 Ag Rapid Nasopharyngeal Test Kit (FAGO MEDIKAL San. Tic. Ltd) 8.0%
    FOREGENE SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Kit (Foregene Co.,Ltd.) 12.0%
    COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test [Nasopharyngeal swab] (Hangzhou AllTest Biotech Co.Ltd) 6.0%
    BIOflux SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Kit [colloidal gold method] (Hangzhou Bioer Technology Co.,Ltd) 24.0%
    Lumiratek SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Cassette (Hangzhou Biotest Biotech Co., Ltd.) 10.0%
    Fanttest Novel Coronavirus(SARS-CoV-2) Antigen Rapid Test Cassette (Hangzhou Fanttest Biotech Co.,Ltd.) 0.0%
    Novel Coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) Antigen Rapid Test Cassette [swab] (Hangzhou Realy Tech Co., Ltd.) 20.0%
    Heinzer Antigen Covid19 Spit Test Rapid Test (Hangzhou Realy Tech Co., Ltd) 28.0%
    COVID-19 testing kit [Colloidal Gold Method] (Hangzhou Singclean Medical Products Co., Ltd.) 0.0%
    KaiBiLi COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device (Hangzhou Genesis Biocontrol Co., Ltd) 18.0%
    BIOZEK COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Cassette (Inzek International Trading BV) 18.0%
    COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test [Latex] (Joinstar Biomedical Technology Co.,Ltd) 0.0%
    Joysbio SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kit [Colloidal Gold] (Joysbio (Tianjin) Biotechnology Co.,Ltd) 18.0%
    COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit (Koch Biotechnology (Beijing) Co., Ltd) 24.0%
    SARS-COV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) Antigen Rapid Test [VIDA TEST Rapid Diagnostic Test] (LiClear Biotech (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd.) 0.0%
    Lionex COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test (Lionex GmbH) 0.0%
    Trueline COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test (Medicon Co., Ltd) 22.0%
    QuickTestCorona COVID-19 antigen rapid test (Mexacare GmbH Heidelberg) 20.0%
    dedicio Medical Test COVID-19 Ag plus test (nal von minden GmbH) 12.0%
    Biocredit COVID-19 Ag (RapiGEN, Inc.) 6.0%
    COVID-19 Antigen Test (Redcell Bioteknoloji Anim Sirketi) 0.0%
    Cleartest Corona antigen (Servoprax GmbH) 24.0%
    SG Diagnostics COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit [Colloidal Gold-Based] (SG Diagnostics Pte Ltd) 20.0%
    Coronavirus Ag Rapid Test Cassette [Tupfer] (ShanDong ThinkLab Biotechnology Co.,Ltd) 0.0%
    Landwind SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test Kit [Colloidal Gold] (Shenzhen Landwind Biotechnology Co.,Ltd) 22.0%
    SARS-Cov-2 Antigen Rapid Test Cassette [swab] (Spring Healthcare Services Sp zoo) 10.0%
    COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Cassette (SureScreen Diagnostics Ltd) 18.0%
    FORA COVID-19 ANTIGEN RAPID TEST (TaiDoc Technology Corporation) 10.0%
    Unibioscience COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (Unioninvest) 0.0%
    VISION® SARS-CoV-2 Saliva Antigen Rapid Test Kit (Vision Biyoteknologi Arastirma Gelistirme Labt. Sist. San ve Tic LTD STI) 22.0%
    VivaDiag SARS-CoV-2 Ag Rapid Test (VivaChek Biotech (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd) 18.0%
    VivaDiag Pro SARS-CoV-2 Ag Rapid Test (VivaChek Biotech (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd) 22.0%
    First Sign SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test (WHPM, Inc) 16.0%
    Gruenbanka SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection kit [colloidal gold method] (Xiamen Jiqing Biomedical Technology Co., Ltd.) 10.0%
    Covid-19 Antigen Test Cassette (Xiamen Zhongsheng Langjie Biotechnology Co., Ltd) 4.0%
    Source: Paul Ehrlich Institute

    Corona: Why are some rapid antigen tests not suitable for testing for an infection?

    But why do some rapid antigen tests not detect a corona infection? According to the PEI, these tests have not been developed for a reliable diagnosis. Rather, they should identify people with a very high viral load. This develops at the beginning of an infection, even if there are no symptoms. As with the omicron variant, the viral load must be high enough for this type of test to be meaningful. Furthermore, no errors may occur when applying the tests, only then can they deliver a reliable result.

    Corona tests on the test bench: criticism of the Paul Ehrlich Institute

    Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach announced on ARD that it should be checked again exactly how sensitive the antigen tests for a corona infection actually are. He promised that there would be a positive rapid test list in a few weeks. The investigations will in turn be carried out by the Paul Ehrlich Institute. In the meantime, criticism has also been voiced at the Paul Ehrlich Institute. The consumer advocate Arne Weinberg criticized the ARD: “The test results are not so understandable that the consumer can see immediately how good the test I have in my hand is.” (Sophia Lother)



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