Rapid corona tests: which ones are reliable?

Rapid corona tests are now part of many people’s daily lives. Because with the growing number of corona cases, the need for quick home tests also increases. But also the quick test result is not always reliable, because on the one hand errors can occur during application and on the other hand the tests differ in quality. For this reason, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), responsible for vaccines and drugs in Germany, has so far tested the reliability of more than 200 SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen tests together with researchers from other institutions. The list of tests was last updated on 01/12/2022.

Rapid corona tests: which ones are reliable?

For review, the scientists prepared various dilution levels from nasal swab samples from patients who tested positive for coronavirus. First of all, the respective viral load was determined using a PCR test before being used in the self-tests. This made it possible to determine the sensitivity of the rapid tests, that is, the probability that the test detects the corona virus.

The two rapid tests for which the sensitivity was 100 percent for both very high and high viral loads and for low viral loads and which performed better are:

  • COVID-19 Limited Rapid Test Cassette Antigen Test Kit from manufacturer Lifecosm Biotech Limited
  • Longsee 2019-nCoV Ag Rapid Detection Kit (Immunochromatography) from manufacturer Guangdong Longsee Biomedical Co., Inc

Four other rapid tests each had 100 percent sensitivity for very high and high viral loads and 80 percent sensitivity for low viral loads. These include:

  • SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Detection Kit (LFA) from the manufacturer Acro Diagnostics Co., Ltd.
  • SARS-CoV-2 Ag Rapid Test Kit by manufacturer Hangzhou Jucheng Medical Products Co., Ltd.
  • InstantSure Covid-19 Ag CARD from manufacturer Suzhou Soochow University Saier Immuno Biotech Co., Ltd.
  • INNOVA SARS-CoV-2 self-test (rapid qualitative antigen test) from the manufacturer Innova Medical Group, Inc.

Most quick tests are safe

Although some of the rapid tests failed the test and a total of eleven of them did not detect a single corona infection, the IEP points out: “Most of the rapid antigen tests evaluated met the required conditions and are suitable for rapid identification of acute infections with a high viral load. ” According to PEI President Klaus Cichutek, test centers, pharmacies and supermarkets follow the PEI list, which is why there are no unreliable tests to buy.


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