Rapid coronavirus tests one step closer to national roll out
After extensive research, two coronavirus rapid-tests have been approved, and are now being examined to determine how they can be used to improve the testing process in the Netherlands.
Five rapid-tests are being examined for their reliability, and after extensive research at Amphia Hospital in Breda and UMC Utrecht, two have been approved. These tests take only 15 minutes to determine whether or not someone is infected with coronavirus.
The research revealed that these rapid-tests did not produce any false positives - saying someone is infected when they aren’t - so was 100 percent accurate in picking out people who did not have the virus. The accuracy for people who did have the virus ranged between 72 and 94 percent.
Before the tests can be rolled out nationally, they are being further investigated to determine how they can most effectively be used, and how they best fit into the existing testing strategy. They may be used at specific locations, such as hospitals and nursing homes, or for those working in certain sectors, such as healthcare or education.
“You always have to look carefully at how you can best use such a test as a supplement to the normal tests of the GGD,” De Jonge told NOS, “As soon as the tests prove suitable in a particular situation, we can actually use them immediately.”
Coronavirus testing in the Netherlands
It is hoped that these new rapid-tests could change the way testing is conducted in the Netherlands, increase the testing capacity, and reduce the pressure currently on the GGD.
“These new tests will radically change our approach,” Marc Bonten, head of medical microbiology at UMC Utrecht, says. Similarly, Jan Kluytmans, professor and head of medical microbiology at Amphia Hospital, is hopeful for the future: “I think this will mean a breakthrough in testing policy...This can really change things completely.”
The Ministry of Health is said to have purchased a total of 2,4 million units, and De Jonge does not fear an imminent shortage of the new rapid-tests. Research is still underway for the remaining three tests - it is not yet known when or if they will be deemed reliable.
Rapid-test trial at RAI Amsterdam
A third coronavirus rapid-test is being trialled by the GGD at the test centre at the RAI in Amsterdam. Developed by the GGD in collaboration with The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, UMC Leiden, UMC Groningen, Royal DSM, and the RIVM.
The test provides a result after 45 minutes. Anyone getting tested for the virus at the RAI will be asked if they are willing to carry out a second test and take part in the trial for the rapid-test.