Aug 10, 2021

How effective are rapid antigen tests to detect variants?

The COVAG proves significant inaccuracy of rapid antigen tests in detecting SARS-CoV-2 variants and when applied to medium to low viral loads.
The COVAG study shows that the results of rapid antigen tests are significantly less accurate than the results of PCR tests:

  • The COVID-19 Antigen Study (COVAG Study), conducted by SYNLAB, the Universities of Heidelberg and Graz, and a large COVID-19 test centre in Stuttgart, is one of the most comprehensive systematic evaluations of rapid antigen testing in a real-life setting
  • The COVAG Study confirms a significantly lower accuracy of rapid antigen tests compared to PCR tests, determining the actual sensitivity of rapid antigen tests at about 60 percent
  • Study results imply that rapid antigen tests have a lower sensitivity when testing for new virus variants
  • Effectiveness of rapid antigen tests as a tool to control the pandemic is limited
Read more about the study:
Read the press release
Read the COVAG study