List of approved fast coronavirus tests released
The Bermuda Health Council has published a list of approved antigen tests for the coronavirus.
The tests can be conducted at home and provide a result in minutes – although a positive result will still have to be confirmed by a follow-up PCR test.
Ricky Brathwaite, the council’s chief executive officer, said there were more than 665 versions of the tests on the market.
Dr Braithwaite added: “While the volume of tests being sold continues to grow, so do concerns about fake tests and low quality products.”
He said: “While we continue to evolve in our testing strategy as products continue to be developed, what we cannot compromise on is maintaining a high level of test quality.
“The standards of testing cannot be compromised, nor can decisions on products be based on profitability.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and everything we do must be about saving lives.”
This list will be monitored and updated every week if required to ensure the use of quality antigen tests.
A BHeC spokeswoman said: “Rapid antigen tests are considerably quicker and easier to use. However they are not diagnostic tools, rather these test are ideal for screening.
“They are perfectly suited to catch asymptomatic Covid-19 before it potentially spreads to others in the workplace, school, home or other high risk settings.
“Confirmation of a positive diagnosis of Covid infection with a rapid antigen test must still be done through a follow-up PCR test.”
The spokeswoman added that rapid antigen test kits will cost between $5 and $10.
She said they were simple to use and could provide quick results – within 20 minutes – and that specimen collection was less invasive and more convenient that PCR tests.
But she warned the tests were not as accurate as laboratory tests because they needed more of the virus in a sample to give a positive result – which increased the risk of a false clear result.
The spokeswoman said: “If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, you should immediately self-isolate and get your close contacts to do so as well.
“An individual who tests positive should contact the Covid hotline for PCR test options to confirm the result.”
She told the public: “Even if you test negative, you must continue to follow all public health measures, and consider testing periodically to confirm your negative status.
“If you are in a high risk situation such as a proximity outbreak, scientific bodies suggest serial testing, where you test two or three times a week to get the type of validity of result as you would with a PCR test.”
The list of approved antigen tests can be found here.