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Maximize antigen rapid testing with rapid PCR

Antigen rapid tests are excellent screening tools. But they have their limits. To maximize their success, onsite PCR rapid testing is essential.

Until vaccines and immunity outpace variants, rapid testing is our best tool in the COVID-defense kit. Antigen rapid tests can effectively screen for active infections in large-scale, high-density environments. Low cost and easy to use, antigen tests keep people with negative results moving in society, while enabling immediate isolation and action for anyone who tests positive.

But antigen rapid tests have limits.

The combined forces of PCR and antigen rapid testing takes you from rapid screening to confirmed results in under three hours.

Remote location? Reliable results matter.

Picture this: A mining camp in the Far North is utilizing antigen tests supplied at no cost by government programs. The tests prove to be excellent for detecting infections in staff early. But suddenly, several samples come back positive right before the start of a new shift. Now what?

Public Health requires a confirmative PCR test for every positive or inconclusive antigen test result. Considered the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing, PCR is the technology that diagnostic labs use to process results. As the most sensitive of all tests, PCR can confirm infection, even in asymptomatic carriers.

Access to diagnostic labs in remote or rural communities often requires travel and results can take days. Meanwhile, absent employees or quarantined shift lines are costly and disruptive. The Far North mining camp needs to know quickly if its antigen results are “false positives” or the real deal. This is where onsite, rapid PCR testing is needed.

Rapid PCR results

In September 2020, Songbird’s preferred rapid PCR testing device was authorized for interim order for point-of-care human testing by Health Canada. Since then the technology has been deployed by leading industry and organizations across the country. Mining operations, food processing plants, automotive, national sports teams, critical infrastructure and communities, including the Province of Manitoba, have trusted the science behind Songbird’s PCR rapid testing technology.

For a remote workplace, like the mining camp mentioned above, onsite PCR testing means antigen test results can be confirmed right away. Unnecessary disruption for false positives can be avoided or isolation can begin immediately for any confirmed infections.

The combined forces of PCR and antigen rapid testing takes you from rapid screening to confirmed results in under three hours. When the best test is deployed at the right time, the efficiency and effectiveness of a rapid testing programs is maximized—and outbreaks are officially defeated.

Interested in learning more about the different rapid tests available? Dr. Steven Newmaster, our lead genomics scientist, explains how each test works in the following video.