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28th January 2021  Author: Paul Carton

BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Test Shows High Sensitivity on Culture-Positive Specimens

The CDC COVID-19 Response Team has published its evaluation on the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen COVID-19 test card. Using both PCR and culture-positive samples, results show the test scored a high positive predictive value (PPV) on culture-positive specimens and according to the CDC, culture-positive "is strong evidence for the presence of infectious virus".

The lateral-flow rapid antigen test is designed to detect the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigen from anterior nasal swabs and provides results in 15 minutes. 

The rapid test showed 92.6% and 78.6% sensitivity on culture-positive samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, respectively. However, some antigen test-negative specimens had culturable virus.

Compared with RT-PCR positive samples, the BinaxNOW antigen test scored lower in sensitivity for asymptomatic (35.8%) and symptomatic (64.2%) persons, but specificity was high. 

There are several limitations to the study; different type of swab used for antigen test and RT-PCR and viral culturing is an in-vitro process and therefore, prone to false-negatives. 

The BinaxNOW rapid antigen test has also received FDA-EUA for home testing. 

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Date Published: 28th January 2021

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