Fast antigen tests hot new ticket item amid pre-Christmas chaos as shoppers strip shelves

Hordes of shoppers emptied supermarket and drugstore shelves as rapid antigen tests in a pre-Christmas rush.

Some stores such as Chemist Warehouse and Priceline have sold out tests in some stores and online, leaving partygoers potentially contagious to attend family events.

Meanwhile, as the country faces a supply chain crisis, only one rapid antigen test has been approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Of the 15 available home tests, ten were made in China. two tests have been developed in the United States, one in Germany and one in South Korea.

But as authorities have warned Australians to use rapid antigen testing, an infectious disease expert has warned the kits can give a false sense of security.

Rapid antigen testing replaced toilet paper as a hot item in the Covid-19 pandemic as hordes of shoppers clear supermarket shelves before Christmas

Of the 15 home tests available to Australians that have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, ten were made in China (pictured)

Of the 15 home tests available to Australians that have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, ten were made in China (pictured)

Professor Peter Collignon, an infectious disease physician, ANU School of Medicine, told the Today Show that tests can only detect about 50% of cases in asymptomatic people.

Professor Collignon said that if detecting half of the cases was better than nothing, if the person was suffering from symptoms, the tests were 80 to 90% effective.

“Yes they have a place, especially if you are going to see elderly parents and are worried about having it,” the Covid expert said.

“But I think compared to PCR they’re not as accurate, especially for those who don’t have any symptoms, so we have to be careful not to rely too much on them to give us a false sense of security.”

Infectious disease expert Robert Booy echoed the professor’s sentiments when he told Sunrise hosts that rapid tests were only about 70% effective in determining a positive case.

The disease expert said repeated testing would improve the quality of the tests and increase a person’s chances of finding the infection.

Across the country, hordes of residents strip drugstore and supermarket shelves for rapid tests, as families seek to be reunited for the holiday season

Across the country, hordes of residents strip drugstore and supermarket shelves for rapid tests, as families seek to be reunited for the holiday season

Infectious disease doctor Professor Peter Collignon (pictured) said Australians should not be overly reliant on rapid antigen testing which could give a false sense of security

Infectious disease doctor Professor Peter Collignon (pictured) said Australians should not be overly reliant on rapid antigen testing which could give a false sense of security

He said a negative result is often 98-99% reliable, saying, “If you test negative you know it’s negative.”

Meanwhile, Mr Booy said PCR tests were “sensitive but not perfect” and could detect around 95% of positive cases.

Over-the-counter detection kits are not available for purchase in South Australia and are not approved as a diagnostic tool in Western Australia.

However, on the east coast, testing ensures that frontline and reception staff can get to work, families can be reunited, and Christmas celebrations can take place.

A five-pack can be purchased from Chemist Warehouse for $ 50, while a two-pack costs $ 25 and promises results in 10 to 15 minutes, but stock is scarce.

“Rapid antigenic testing should be widely available in the community and it should be FREE to encourage people to test themselves before leaving home every day,” one Twitter user wrote.

Across the country, hoards of residents strip drugstore and supermarket shelves for rapid tests, as families appear to reunite for the holiday season (pictured, a rapid antigen test)

Across the country, hoards of residents strip drugstore and supermarket shelves for rapid tests, as families appear to reunite for the holiday season (pictured, a rapid antigen test)

A five-pack can be purchased from Chemist Warehouse for $ 50 while a two-pack costs $ 25 and promises results in 10 to 15 minutes (pictured)

A five-pack can be purchased from Chemist Warehouse for $ 50 while a two-pack costs $ 25 and promises results in 10 to 15 minutes (pictured)

“Singapore, New Zealand and other countries are giving away free face masks and rapid antigen tests. A lot of people cannot afford to buy them. Australia should do the same, ”agreed another user.

Testing clinics across the country are feeling the pressure as Australians desperate to travel between states during the holiday season line up for hours to get swabbed.

Most interstate travel requires a negative test before departure, but with results taking two to three days, the wait turns travel plans upside down.

Infectious disease expert Mary-Louise McClaws has called for free rapid tests to be made available to residents as the number of cases nationwide reaches 4,000 a day.

The professor warned that there were signs of a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections ahead of the Christmas holidays in New South Wales, as the virus infiltrates other states.

“All of a sudden we have the highest number we’ve had in NSW and I think that unfortunately signals a fourth wave,” she told the Nine Network on Friday.

“We really have to be careful because what we learned from the England experience when Delta happened (was) all of a sudden the children became the target of the virus and that is exactly what is happening again.”

Thousands of households are at risk of spending Christmas locked inside their homes as the Omicron variant sends dozens of positive cases and close contacts into isolation.

NSW recorded 2,051 new cases of Covid on Monday while Victoria reported 1,302 new infections less than a week before Christmas (pictured, drive-thru testing clinic in Bondi Beach)

NSW recorded 2,051 new cases of Covid on Monday while Victoria reported 1,302 new infections less than a week before Christmas (pictured, drive-thru testing clinic in Bondi Beach)

NSW health officials admitted they had no idea how many cases of the highly infectious mutant strain were active in the state because it is too expensive and too time consuming to test – but there are probably thousands of them.

The revelation comes as disturbing new international data reveals that Omicron is “no sweeter” than the Delta variant – but five times more likely to re-infect itself.

Queensland and Tasmania have both reintroduced mask warrants to indoor environments, as the number of cases rises as holidaymakers begin to flood the highway.

In New South Wales, Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet has so far refused to reinstate restrictions despite mounting pressure, just days after he removed density limits and granted the unvaccinated the same freedoms as those who received the vaccine.

The state recorded 2,051 new cases of Covid on Monday while Victoria reported 1,302 new infections less than a week before Christmas.


Source link

Comments are closed.