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Can antigens be tested instead of nucleic acids? What kind of people are suitable for it?

Nov 17 - 2023

nasal swab

What is the difference between antigen testing and traditional nucleic acid testing?

New crown antigen for testing and nucleic acid testing are two ways different technical teaching means, the former is mainly through the analysis of the detection system virus specific binding protein, like a virus wearing a coat, while the latter is a detection of the new crown virus nucleic acid gene fragments, is the virus inside the gene, the two detection is a different substance.

Antigen testing is a simple and fast way to detect viruses.Rapid antigen nasal swab Compared with nucleic acid testing, it does not require specialized sampling or special equipment. Ordinary residents can test themselves at home and get the result in 10-20 minutes.

Can antigen testing replace nucleic acid testing?

Antigen testing cannot replace nucleic acid testing. In fact, antigen testing has been around for a long time but has not been widely used in China. This is because the test results are not as accurate and early as nucleic acid tests.

Nucleic acid testing has an amplification process, so even a small amount of viral nucleic acid can be detected, which helps in early detection; however, antigen testing must require that the sample already contains a large amount of antigen, so it is more effective in people who develop symptoms within 5 days. Therefore, the antigen test is not the final diagnosis, and the nucleic acid test is the "gold standard" for diagnosing C.pneumoniae infection.

What are the different situations in which we need to use antigen testing?

With the mutation of the virus, especially the emergence of various mutant strains, which become the dominant strain, the speed of transmission is greatly increased, and the covertness is getting stronger and stronger.

Under such circumstances, the addition of antigenic testing means can detect cases earlier in the population and help us respond to outbreaks more quickly. In Hong Kong, antigen detection and nucleic acid testing have already been adopted in the fight against epidemics.

What kind of people are suitable for antigen testing?

Antigen testing is suitable for three categories of people:First, people who visit primary health care organizations and develop respiratory and fever symptoms within five days; second, people under isolation and observation, including those under home isolation and observation, close and sub-closely contacted persons, inbound isolation and observation, and those in closed control areas and control zones; and third, people in the community who have a need for self-testing of antigens.

Increasing the technical means for antigen to carry out testing will help grassroots social medical and environmental health service organizations that do not have the capacity to work on nucleic acid testing to continuously improve their students' capacity and increase the role of sentinel sites for epidemic prevention and control; it will help us to increase the willingness of the public to carry out testing to facilitate early detection and to gain valuable time for the disposal of the epidemic.