Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Photo of Emer HigginsEmer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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484. To ask the Minister for Health if rapid antigen testing 15 minutes will be considered as part of the long-term strategy to live with Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29900/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The HSE is not currently using rapid antigen tests. However, it is continuously examining the issues involved in their potential use, including sensitivity, as many of the antigen tests developed to date have low sensitivity.

The HSE advises that antigen testing may well have a potential role in testing of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people in the future. Studies of these tests, similar to the one mentioned, are now starting in order to ensure that if and where deployed they would be of appropriate quality and sensitivity. However, this will not replace the requirement for large scale PCR testing which remains the “gold standard” for community testing for Covid-19.

It is also worth noting the rapid Health Technology Assessment (HTA) which the Health Information Quality (HIQA) has in recent days submitted to NPHET on alternative diagnostic approaches, including antigen tests.


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