Covid-19 rapid antigen tests are seeing massive revenue growth. The popularity of these tests can be attributed to their ease of use. In-vitro diagnostics are moving from hospital laboratory-based testing to more rapid testing that can be performed at the point of care, either in a physician’s office or at home. With rapid tests, the individual can get test results in a matter of minutes from the comfort of their own homes.
Rapid Covid-19 antigen tests test for viral protein, rather than viral genomic DNA which the traditional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based Covid-19 tests detect. The technology of antigen tests allows them to be easily packaged and easily used in a similar way to a home pregnancy test, which uses the patient sample to give a colourimetric result on a dipstick.
Serial Covid-19 testing performed for essential workers who are at high risk, such as teachers, is difficult to perform using PCR technology where the individual has to go to a testing site, can cost $100, and can take between two to three days to receive a test result. There is a clear benefit of rapid antigen tests, which can be performed on-site with results delivered in a matter of minutes.
Abbott is positioned to be the leading manufacturer of Covid-19 rapid antigen tests. Abbott reported first-quarter growth of 35.3% year-over-year, driven by significant growth in Rapid Diagnostics, which grew by 302.8% year-over-year worldwide. Abbott’s rapid antigen BinaxNOW Covid-19 Self-Test, an over-the-counter (OTC) test for people with or without symptoms, can now be found in the US at most CVS Pharmacies, Walgreens and Walmart stores without a prescription. This is the first of its kind Covid-19 diagnostic to be a readily and widely available OTC test.
GlobalData predicts that rapid Covid-19 antigen tests will gain market share this year in the Covid-19 testing market as the market continues to shift towards rapid tests, which provide the benefits of easy, at-home testing and allow the individual to receive results in minutes. GlobalData also expects the successful development and deployment of rapid Covid-19 antigen tests to pave the way for the shift towards rapid in-vitro diagnostics that can be performed at the point of care.