As COVID cases continue to balloon in Australia and testing sites reach capacity - millions of Australians are increasingly turning to rapid antigen tests - or RATs.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved more than a dozen different self-tests for supply in Australia and has categorised them according to their clinical sensitivity.
The performance requirements - aligned with technical specifications published by the World Health Organisation and the European Commission - includes a minimum clinical sensitivity of at least 80 per cent.
This is based on the test’s positive per cent agreement (PPA) - the proportion of individuals that produced a positive test result using a COVID-19 rapid antigen self-test, compared to those with a positive result by PCR test.
The theory is that the greater the sensitivity, the greater chance it has at detecting COVID-19, the less chance of a false negative.
“Acceptable sensitivity” indicates a clinical sensitivity greater than 80 per cent PPA, ‘high sensitivity’ greater than 90 per cent PPA and “very high sensitivity” greater than 95 per cent PPA.
Infectious disease expert Paul Griffin told Sunrise that as time passes, and access and availability increase, “it would be best to use the one that has the highest performance that you can find and afford”.
The All Test SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Nasal Swab) (ICOV-502H) Self-Test has been given a “very high sensitivity” label.