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Jakarta Post

Experts advise caution with antigen tests for screening

  • Ardila Syakriah


Jakarta   /   Thu, October 1 2020   /  01:00 am
Say ahh: A nurse takes a swab sample from a patient at the Tanah Abang district office in Central Jakarta on June 21. Swab tests, also called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, use mucus samples taken from the nose or throat to detect COVID-19.(JP/P.J. Leo)

Amid persistent COVID-19 testing constraints, the government appears to be looking into using rapid antigen tests, which are cheaper and faster although less accurate than the gold-standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Experts are on board but urge caution. National COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said the government was searching for better and more accurate alternatives to its current screening method of rapid antibody tests, whose inaccuracy experts have highlighted, and that it was considering antigen tests. Wiku said on Tuesday that the government was aware of the World Health Organization's recommended list of rapid antigen test kits, which could provide results in less than 30 minutes. PCR tests can take hours or even days to process in labs as testing backlogs remain common in the country. "Certainly, antigen tests can be used in In...