ROCHE Diagnostics has launched a rapid antigen nasal test in Ireland, with millions of kits available immediately to help more businesses and organisations looking to reopen safely as lockdown restrictions begin to lift this month.
The SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Nasal can be easily carried out at the point of care to detect if someone has an active infection, providing results 15 minutes after sampling. Rapid Antigen testing has been recommended to support the national testing programme by the Covid-19 Rapid Testing Group, chaired by Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland.
Commenting on the importance of rapid antigen testing, John O' Malley, Procurement Manager, Galway Clinic, said: “The benefit of such a quick result means that these tests have played a vital role in managing staff and patient safety and avoiding potential outbreaks, particularly with such high incidents of Covid-19 in the community.
"The recent recommendations by the Rapid Testing Group outline how these tests can be used in society and by industries for the safety of our communities, and to assist with Ireland’s recovery. Rapid antigen tests have been an important element in keeping our hospitals safe from Covid-19 and we would highly recommend they be used to complement the national testing programme.”
The new SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Nasal test works by collecting a sample from the front area of the nose instead of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the nose where it meets the throat), resulting in a simplified and faster testing procedure.
This testing method can help to reduce patient discomfort, particularly in sensitive individuals such as children, elderly people and/or people with disabilities.
Besides being less invasive, the nasal test also provides patients with the option to self-collect their sample under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Through reduced physical contact, this method of testing can help to decrease the risk of exposure to the virus for healthcare professionals.
Roche obtained a CE mark for the test at the beginning of February, which means it conforms to quality and safety standards. The test is now available across Ireland and can help to provide additional support for sectors including education, construction, leisure, sport and the creative industries.
Finbarr Kenny, Director of Ireland, Roche Diagnostics, said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we are proud to have supported the ongoing national effort with a number of different tests. As the country begins to reopen slowly, high quality diagnostic tests will remain critical to supporting Ireland's recovery.
"Our rapid antigen nasal test can deliver results after just 15 minutes, providing much-needed confidence and reassurance at this challenging time. Tests which are convenient to use and deliver fast results can help various industries get back to business, as well as other aspects of society including schools, to remain open long term. We are extremely proud to be working with organisations across the country to provide testing and with the HSE to continue increasing testing capacity.”
The test is the latest addition to Roche's comprehensive Covid-19 portfolio to support healthcare systems in diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection.