Antigen tests should be €1 to €2 to encourage uptake, says professor

Prof. McConkey also suggested that the booster campaign should be deferred until there was a new vaccine specifically tailored to combat the Delta variant and to be administered nasally to provide immunity through the nose.
Antigen tests should be €1 to €2 to encourage uptake, says professor

Vivienne Clarke

Infectious diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey has said that antigen tests should cost €1 to €2 each in a bid to get people to use them more frequently.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Prof McConkey said that to be effective antigen tests should be used two to three times a week.

If the current situation continued then such testing could be required for six months to a year, so it needed to be affordable for people, he said.

Prof. McConkey also suggested that the booster campaign should be deferred until there was a new vaccine specifically tailored to combat the Delta variant and to be administered nasally to provide immunity through the nose.

The vaccines being used at present were being administered through muscles which did not offer immunity for the nose, he said.

It was unlikely that the booster campaign as it was at present would solve the current problem of growing numbers. People needed to stay out of congregated settings. “That’s what’s needed.”

Prof McConkey also called for people to continue to work from home where possible. Technology made this possible, and it had been shown that working from home could be productive, he said. But he called for new ideas for new businesses, new products and new markets.

Long-term strategy

It comes as the chief executive of the business group Dublin Town, Richard Guiney has called for a strategy for working and living with Covid-19 in the long term.

There needed to be an understanding of the dynamic of how all parts of the economy can work together, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The decrease in footfall in the retail and hospitality sectors when people were working from home had a major impact, he said.

The pandemic had shown the “symbiotic” relationship and reliance of the retail and hospitality sectors on office workers.

Mr Guiney called for a move away from restrictions and lockdown and said there was a need to understand “how all these pieces fit together.”

Taking office workers out of the office was not good for the economy, it was only in recent weeks that footfall levels had reached 85 percent, but for the market to survive that figure needed to reach the 90 percent range, he added.

Covid certs, antigen test and booster vaccines all needed to be considered, he urged.

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