Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK have found out that the rapid lateral flow tests could identify the most infectious cases of Covid-19.
Working with the Public Health England and NHS Test, the scientists used Test and Trace data to study why some people spread Covid-19 to others easily and whether lateral flow tests are sufficient to detect the most infectious individuals.
They found that the more virus identified in the nose and throat (viral load), the more infectious the person is.
As people with higher viral loads can potentially pass the infection on to others, they are the ones to be identified and isolated to reduce transmission.
Researchers noted that Covid-19 tests, similarly to lateral flow tests, are less sensitive than standard PCR but can be made widely available rapidly for identifying highly infectious individuals to isolate them faster.
Furthermore, as they can be carried out in the home setting and yield results in 30 minutes, they can test more people without symptoms and those who are at high risk of contracting Covid-19.
The University of Oxford Medicine professor and study senior author Tim Peto said: “Lateral flow tests have been very popular with staff at our hospitals in Oxford with over 60,000 tests done since November.
“We’ve been able to detect asymptomatic infected staff who would not have been otherwise diagnosed, protecting patients and staff.
“We know that lateral flow tests are not perfect, but that doesn’t stop them being a game-changer for helping to detect large numbers of infectious cases sufficiently rapidly to prevent further onward spread.”
In a separate development, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an emergency use authorisation (EUA) to United Biomedical subsidiary, COVAXX’s Covid-19 antibody test, UBI SARS-CoV-2 ELISA.
The test can detect people with an adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and monitor antibody levels in response to vaccines.