On Friday, 15th October, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Simon Harris TD announced the extension of rapid antigen testing pilots in third level institutions across seven campuses this autumn. DBS is delighted to be one of the seven participating colleges.
What is antigen testing?
A rapid antigen test, is a rapid diagnostic test suitable for point-of-care testing that directly detects the presence or absence of an antigen. It is commonly used for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Rapid tests are a type of lateral flow tests that detect antigens, distinguishing it from other medical tests that detect antibodies (antibody tests) or nucleic acid (nucleic acid tests), of either laboratory or point-of-care types. Rapid tests generally give a result in 5 to 30 minutes, require minimal training or infrastructure, and have significant cost advantages.
Minister Harris said: “We are implementing Government’s plan for a safe return to on-site teaching, research and study this semester and, working closely with our partners in further and higher education, it’s going well.
We want to know more about how we can help staff and students keep themselves and others safe, and it makes sense to test the ways we might have of adding to that. That’s why I am announcing the extension of our rapid antigen testing pilot to seven campuses this autumn.”
Rapid testing does not replace our public health advice to wear a face covering and keep washing your hands but it could be an additional weapon in our fight against COVID-19 in the future. The pilot is now in active stage with staff and students submitting tests for the next two weeks. Thank you to all of the DBS staff and students who volunteered to participate in this pilot.