Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Health
540. To ask the Minister for Health his views on antigen testing for Covid-19; his further views on whether this test can supplement or replace the laboratory testing of samples; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30199/20]
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.
542. To ask the Minister for Health the reason there is no Covid-19 testing centre on the southside of Cork city in view of its large population and level three restrictions; and his plans to set up a testing centre in this area [30218/20]