Thursday, October 15, 2020

Countries turn to rapid antigen tests to contain second wave of COVID-19

 A healthcare worker takes a swab sample from a person at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test centre at Rome's San Giovanni hospital, Italy, October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

John Miller, Caroline Copley, Bart H. Meijer

ZURICH/BERLIN (Reuters) - Countries straining to contain a second wave of COVID-19 are turning to faster, cheaper but less accurate tests to avoid the delays and shortages that have plagued efforts to diagnose and trace those infected quickly.

Germany, where infections jumped by 4,122 on Tuesday to 329,453 total, has secured 9 million so-called antigen tests per month that can deliver a result in minutes and cost about 5 euros ($5.90) each. That would, in theory, cover more than 10% of the population.

The United States and Canada are also buying millions of tests, as is Italy, whose recent tender for 5 million tests attracted offers from 35 companies. Switzerland, where new COVID-19 cases are at record levels, is considering adding the tests to its nationwide screening strategy.  Read more >>