16 June 2021
By Tom Collins
“The Government must stop prevaricating and urgently roll out rapid antigen testing as part of its overall response to the Covid 19 pandemic,” said Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher, who is based in Cork North Central.
Kelleher was commenting following the publication of a HSE study produced by their Covid-19 antigen testing working group in recent days.
“I cannot for the life of me understand the hostility towards rapid antigen testing by NPHET, and by extension the Government. No one, I believe, is claiming that this form of testing is more accurate or better than PCR testing.
“It is however useful in certain contexts. Those opposed to rapid antigen testing claim that some people with Covid may be missed when using this form of test.
“However, we need to look at the overall picture. What is the likelihood that any of these people would have received a PCR test in the first place? Every Covid 19 case detected is a positive.
“Sadly, it seems that NPHET take the glass is half empty view when it comes to rapid antigen testing.
“It’s high time that the Government made a decision on rolling out antigen testing in certain contexts such as high volume events, congregated settings, or the aviation sector for example.
“Ireland is an outlier when it comes to this diagnostic tool. Are NPHET really saying that they know better than their public health colleagues in other EU member states?
“I will say it again: every Covid 19 case detected is a positive. If the choice is not testing a group of people, or testing using rapid antigen tests and potentially missing 1 in 5, it’s a no-brainer. Rapid antigen testing must be part of the solution and the Irish Government and NPHET must catch up with the rest of the world,” concluded Kelleher.