The rapid tests for COVID-19 are known for being less sensitive in general. But now the FDA has said that the rapid test is less sensitive towards the new omicron variant. The omicron variant has started a fresh battle of the pandemic but in a less aggressive way and now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has informed that the rapid test (one of the most important tools during the pandemic) might not even work against the new variant.
Meanwhile, the PCR test has always been the most dependent and accurate test that provides the best results but that takes time. But the antigen test, the results are out in a few minutes but are generally less effective than the PCR test. The antigen tests are already known for being less reliant and now the FDA has said that it is less sensitive to the omicron variant. Dr. Luis Ostrosky, the UT Health Houston and Memorial Hermann Infectious Disease Expert said that people are likely to test false negatives sometimes at the same time added that it does not mean that people cannot take a rapid test anymore. Ostrosky added that people who have the symptoms can try the rapid test and if it tests positive they have made the diagnosis. But if the test comes negative, then they should not stop there.
Here people can either go for a PCR test that can directly give you an accurate result or go for serial retesting with antigen. Serial testing means taking the rapid test a few days in a row. But now omicron is adding a little more uncertainty to the results. Ostrosky said that the reason for it could be due to the lower viral load for omicron or a mismatch between the antigens that is found in omicron and the ones that they are trying to detect in the kit.
It is hoped that the uncertainty will not last or long.
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