Norfolk firm Proviris Solutions has a rapid antigen test card that can identify whether employees are infectious with COVID-19 or not. It means close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 could know within 15 minutes whether they risk spreading the disease to others – helping to cut time spent in quarantine.
Housed in a lateral flow card-based device, the process requires no specialist equipment and minimal expertise from the person performing the test. And the critical thing is that these tests are able to be done then and there, they do not need to be sent back to labs for testing, which can lead to all sorts of problems with logistics.
Despite the recent announcements of the Covid-19 vaccines, the virus causing the disease — SARS-CoV-2 — is likely to stay with us for months at the very least. Identifying infected individuals is the only way to provide proper healthcare and contain the spread.
For companies, the rapid test is an efficient solution to regular testing all workers onsite for COVID-19, helping to control the spread of the virus from individuals who do not know they are infected.
The Antigen Rapid Test works by detecting the presence of viral proteins (antigens) expressed by the COVID-19 virus in a sample from the respiratory tract of a person. If the target antigen is present in sufficient concentrations in the sample, it will bind to specific antibodies fixed to a paper strip enclosed in the card and generate a visually detectable signal. This means a positive result shows that live, active virus is present, giving a clear signal of current infection, whether the individual has started to show symptoms or not.