COVID-19 ECHO Session #23: COVID-19 Antigen Testing’s Role in Helping Control the Pandemic

September 20, 2020

On 18 September 2020, this COVID-19 ECHO session was convened to discuss antigen testing’s role in helping control the COVID-19 pandemic. Real time Polymerized Chain Reaction (rt-PCR) testing to detect SARS-CoV-2 has been the WHO recommended method to diagnose COVID-19. However, this method has not always been available at every tier of the laboratory network with fast test turn-around times, and this has been a key barrier to achieve the required testing coverage for the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the search for easier-to-deploy and faster methods continues, antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDT) have been proposed as a technology to expand testing for SARS-CoV-2. Ag-RDTs can be used at the point of care and could enable immediate steps for patient management and public health measures for epidemic control. But, to date, few antigen tests have received stringent regulatory review or approvals. In this session we discussed what was known about Ag-RDT tests, their performance and clinical utility, and the recent World Health Organization guidance on their use for the COVID-19 pandemic response. Presentations were made by Dr Yenew Kebede, Head of Laboratory Services, Africa CDC, and Dr Lara Vojnov, Diagnostics Advisor, World Health Organization. Please follow the links posted here to view the recorded video session on ASLM’s YouTube channel, and download the presentation slides from the session. The Q&A for this session is pending. Please check back for updates.