Review of COVID INNOVA antigen test from a care home provider
I hope my experience will give some insight in to Antigen testing: -
It would be wise for providers not to rely on the results of the INNOVA test kits – in particular homes conducting daily testing following an outbreak. They are not “better than nothing” - they could represent a false sense of security likely to lead to further infection throughout the care setting and onwards in to the community. Please read on.
I tested positive yesterday as a result of an infected member of staff returning to work after the Christmas break on the 29th December. Timeline below -
4th Jan at 11.00am - I test negative with the Excalibur Antigen test, so all seems well.
5th Jan at 15.40 - I test positive with the Excalibur test. To be certain I immediately take the Excalibur test again along with the INNOVA to compare. On the far right below is my first Excalibur test reading positive, next to it are the two second tests – Excalibur positive and INNOVA negative, both taken at the same time and left for 35 minutes before photographing. I send off my weekly PCR test.
6th Jan at 10.20am - whilst in isolation I test again with both kits to see if/when the INNOVA will pick up the virus – it doesn’t. Below - Excalibur positive on the left, INNOVA negative on the right.
6th Jan at 16.00 Below – 24 hours later the INNOVA tests finally picks up a positive result – I immediately do another INNOVA to make sure – it reads negative. So one INNOVA test fails completely – it’s a 50/50. All tests were done correctly (coughing/blowing of nose beforehand etc) under the same conditions. If I had to rely solely on the INNOVA tests I would still be at work in the care home with a high risk of infecting residents, staff, my care manager, my family and others. As of writing I am still awaiting the results of the PCR test.
07/01/21 at 09.30, again both tests carried out as per manufacturer’s directions, at the same time and left for 30 minutes. The INNOVA has read negative 41 hours since I tested positive …. we could debate a slight shadow but most would miss or discount it.
It might be safer for homes to double down on infection control than use the results from the INNOVA tests. Relying on the weekly PCR test (perhaps with a better quality Antigen test) could be safer way forward.