Australia needs to take rapid Covid-19 testing more seriously because it is falling behind the rest of the world in how it manages virus testing according to a leading medical device manufacturer.

Rapid antigen kits, which are DIY rather than lab tests, are assuming more importance as the pandemic continues because they return results in minutes, claims John Kelly, the boss of Sydney-based company Atomo Diagnostics.

They also potentially prevent the virus spreading by eliminating the need for sick and well people to stand next to each other in queues and especially indoors.

Australia needs to take rapid Covid-19 testing more seriously because it is falling behind the rest of the world in how it manages virus testing according to a leading medical device manufacturer

Australia needs to take rapid Covid-19 testing more seriously because it is falling behind the rest of the world in how it manages virus testing according to a leading medical device manufacturer

Australia needs to take rapid Covid-19 testing more seriously because it is falling behind the rest of the world in how it manages virus testing according to a leading medical device manufacturer

There has been widespread criticism of an over-reliance on PCR tests (also known as lab tests) which return results several days later and inadvertently exposes people without the virus to people who have it

There has been widespread criticism of an over-reliance on PCR tests (also known as lab tests) which return results several days later and inadvertently exposes people without the virus to people who have it

There has been widespread criticism of an over-reliance on PCR tests (also known as lab tests) which return results several days later and inadvertently exposes people without the virus to people who have it

There has been widespread criticism of an over-reliance on PCR tests (also known as lab tests) which return results several days later and inadvertently exposes people without the virus to people who have it.

The accuracy of PCR tests has also come into focus. 

While PCR tests are more accurate than rapid antigen tests, the lab testing system produced hundreds of false positive results in Sydney this week. 

‘There’s no national rapid test strategy and we’ve been waiting two years for this to happen. I don’t understand why as a nation we are not better prepared,’ Mr Kelly told The Australian.

Rapid antigen kits, which are DIY rather than lab tests, are assuming more importance as the pandemic continues because they return results in minute - although they are less accurate than lab tests

Rapid antigen kits, which are DIY rather than lab tests, are assuming more importance as the pandemic continues because they return results in minute - although they are less accurate than lab tests

Rapid antigen kits, which are DIY rather than lab tests, are assuming more importance as the pandemic continues because they return results in minute – although they are less accurate than lab tests

While PCR tests are more accurate than rapid antigen tests, the lab testing system produced hundreds of false positive results in Sydney this week

While PCR tests are more accurate than rapid antigen tests, the lab testing system produced hundreds of false positive results in Sydney this week

While PCR tests are more accurate than rapid antigen tests, the lab testing system produced hundreds of false positive results in Sydney this week

‘If the current situation doesn’t make that clear – I’m not sure what would. Rapid testing is one of the key pillars of Covid response,’ he said.

Mr Kelly claims rapid antigen testing plays a greater role in the UK and Europe. 

Professor Robert Booy, an infectious disease expert from the University of Sydney, warns that the testing queues are putting more people at risk of catching the virus, as symptomatic Aussies line up with people who simply need a negative test.

‘Symptomatic people are turning up for PCR tests and standing for hours in queues adding to the risk of spread to those who are negative,’ he told the Courier Mail. 

Atomo Diagnostics, based in Leichhardt, Sydney, also sells its rapid antigen testing kits in the United Kingdom.

According to the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods there are 157 Covid-19 test kits approved for use in Australia, including Atomo’s.

To be approved by the TGA in Australia a brand of rapid antigen test must be able to detect at least 80 per cent of PCR-confirmed-Covid infections.

One of the major reasons behind the under-reliance on rapid antigen testing is that consumers pay for the testing, where lab tests are free. 

One of the criticisms of the lab-testing system is that sick and well people potentially stand close to each other as they wait

One of the criticisms of the lab-testing system is that sick and well people potentially stand close to each other as they wait

One of the criticisms of the lab-testing system is that sick and well people potentially stand close to each other as they wait

Woolworths and Coles both only one brand, made by Hough Pharma, but they are not available in all stores and are often out of stock.

When they are available they cost $15 each. 

The retailers began stocking them in November.

Chemist Warehouse only sell rapid antigen kits online. The store stock the RightSign brand at a cost of two for $25.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce criticised Queensland over its emphasis on PCR testing and said the sunshine state should be using more rapid antigen testing.

On Tuesday Queensland removed the need for visitors to take a PCR test after five days, but left in place the requirement for one on arrival. 

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