What are antigenic tests, now widely available, really worth? Are they efficient enough to limit the risks of “false negatives” and “false positives”? In the first case, they could erroneously reassure a contagious person, who will continue to infect their loved ones. In the other, they run the risk of isolating the tested subject and his contacts for nothing. In order to avoid these pitfalls, the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) has indicated a minimum performance level (1) as well as the audiences on which these tests can be used (symptomatic people, screening targeted at populations at risk, and, recently, contact cases).
But there is a blind spot in this device: checking the reliability of the products available. While waiting for the arrival of vaccines, these rapid tests are set to play an increasing role in the fight against Covid-19. The needs are enormous and almost 70 companies rushed into this new market, including specialists … in the distribution of promotional items. However, the performance of these tests turns out to be variable from one brand to another.
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