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What You Need To Know About Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

on 13 Jan 2022 12:22 PM
Blog Category: Health Blog

Following the significant rise in COVID cases as a result of the movement away from elimination strategies and the strain on PCR testing, we have seen a rise in interest in Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

But what role do RATs play in workplace COVID-19 risk management and what are the considerations for their use?

Which Tests You Should Use

Only Australian Government Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration Rapid Antigen Tests should be used. See the list of approved tests.

The test units vary by their clinical sensitivity as well as the method of collection.

Clinical sensitivity categories for RATs ranges from 80- 95% PPA. Positive percent agreement (PPA) is the proportion of individuals that, during testing, produced a positive test result using a COVID-19 rapid antigen self-test, in comparison with a positive result that was obtained using a more sensitive laboratory PCR test.

The range of sensitivities are detailed in the table below.

 Sensitivity level

 PPA %

 Acceptable sensitivity

 80

 High sensitivity

 90

 Very high sensitivity

 95

Tests may use either:

Which Days You Should Test On

RATs are most likely to produce a true positive result in the first 7 days of symptom onset when the viral load is highest. In the early and late stages of the virus, individuals may still be contagious but not test positive. In the case of a person in the potential early stages of infection a test should be repeated within 1-3 days.

Other Testing Considerations:

Summary

Some General COVID-19 Controls In Accordance With The Hierarchy Of Control

Elimination

Substitution

Engineering

Administration

PPE

Please call us on 1 300 856 282 if you have any questions about your COVID Plan or Indoor Air Quality. Our experienced Occupational Hygienists will be happy to assist you.


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