The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has found that antigen testing for Covid-19 should not be used to replace existing ways of mitigating the spread of the virus.
HIQA concluded that there is uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of rapid antigen tests in people with symptoms.
HIQA also recommended that the current minimum age for using face coverings in the community, which is currently 12, should not be reduced.
“Based on the current evidence, there is uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of rapid antigen testing for screening of asymptomatic individuals with the aim of limiting transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” HIQA said.
“There are also significant resource, implementation, regulatory, ethical and social considerations associated with the widespread use of rapid antigen detection tests in asymptomatic populations.”
HIQA found that antigen tests may have a role in limiting transmission in certain circumstances, but only as an additional public health measure, rather than as a replacement for current measures.
IMAGE – PA IMAGES/”Negative Covid-19 / SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen” by Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0)