Rapid antigen testing needs national oversight

30 Sep 2021

The AMA was in the media this week talking about different aspects of the pandemic, including the growing role of rapid antigen testing for COVID-19.  

AMA Vice President Dr Chris Moy was quoted in The Advertiser newspaper saying that although rapid antigen testing would have an increasingly important role in the approach of ‘living with COVID’, it had to be done as part of a national approach to inform how to use it effectively and consistently.

“The tests will have a role in how businesses, workplaces and other public environments manage after borders are lifted. Rapid antigen testing is not as accurate as polymerase chain reaction – it generally picks up people when they are most infectious,” he said.

Dr Moy said the issue with rapid antigen testing was the possibility of it providing a false negative result.

He said in South Australia, which had worked so hard to be COVID-free, even one false negative was a huge issue and the State could not afford to miss a case.

The Federal Government has announced that people would be able to undertake home testing and buying rapid antigen testing kits from pharmacies and convenience stores following approval by the Therapeutics Goods Administration from 1 November 2021.

Dr Moy was also interviewed on the Triple M FM Stream/Download radio network stressing the importance of people being vaccinated even if they lived in states that were unaffected by COVID at the moment.

“All the states without COVID at the moment are dodging bullets in terms of individuals coming to their states, particularly, for example, truckies passing through their states and potentially bringing it in,” he said.

“It’s a matter of when and not if.”

Also on the topic of vaccines, Dr Omar Khorshid appeared this week in another two YouTube videos created by prominent Australian YouTube health communicators Dr Matt Barton and Dr Mike Todorovic (Dr Matt & Dr Mike).

The videos are part of a global push by social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to combat vaccine misinformation by providing COVID vaccine information from experts, such as Dr Khorshid and the AMA.

Since launching last week, Dr Khorshid's videos have been viewed more than 140,000 times, and they have been added to YouTube's dedicated channel for COVID vaccine facts.