Experiment with fast Covid tests start in Utrecht, results in 15 minutes
The first large-scale experiment with fast Covid-19 tests started at a testing center in Utrecht. The UMC Utrecht experiment is aimed at finding out how reliable these fast tests are, NOS reports.
For the experiment, people will be tested with the fast test and the PCR test that the GGD test centers are currently using, so that the results can be compared. In the coming weeks, similar experiments will be launched in other hospitals. If the fast tests prove reliable enough, the government wants to start using them on a large scale from November.
The PCR test currently used by the GGDs is seen as the best test on the market. It tests for genetic material of the coronavirus and is very sensitive. "The PCR test already shows with a small amount of virus in the body that there is a corona infection," microbiologist Rob Schuurman said to NOS. "But the process that the PCR test takes in the laboratory takes a long time, about five hours from start to finish."
The fast test UMC Utrecht is experimenting with tests for proteins typical of SARS-CoV-2. The results are in within 15 to 20 minutes. "We know from these antigen tests that they are less sensitive," Schuurman said. But they can still be useful, for example in determining who definitely doesn't have a coronavirus infection and who will need to go for a PCR test for a definite diagnosis.
That can take a great deal of pressure off of the laboratories currently buckled under analyzing the thousands of Covid-19 tests performed in the Netherlands per day. Earlier this week the GGD said that they have to turn away about 10 thousand people per day who want a Covid-19 test, because of the limited capacity. And people sometimes have to wait 48 hours before getting their test results.