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Transitioning to Endemic COVID-19 Testing: Evidence-Based Assessment on Current and Future Rapid Antigen Test Detection

Background

Omicron globally became the predominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in late 2021. Some studies have suggested Omicron has a different replication pattern that could affect detection by rapid antigen tests. Reports in social media have promulgated oral swabs as a superior sample for detecting Omicron in the early stage of infection compared to nasal swabs.

More recently, publications report detection of Omicron by rapid antigen tests is comparable to the Delta Variant and other previous variants.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine the latest clinical and scientific evidence related to rapid antigen test detection of COVID-19 in the presence of variants, including Omicron;
  • Present recently published study results of rapid antigen test performance compared to PCR across sample types in a population infected with Omicron;
  • Provide an outlook on future variants and potential impact on rapid tests;
  • Assess clinical and public health guidance on rapid testing as the world transitions from pandemic to endemic patient care.

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