Common at-home COVID-19 test can effectively detect omicron

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In a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found a widely used at-home coronavirus test called BinaxNOW is as effective at detecting Omicron as other COVID-19 variants.

The data included more than 700 people who visited a walk-up testing site in San Francisco.

The team showed the test detected 65% of infections caught by more sensitive PCR tests, but pinpointed 95% of people with the highest levels of the virus.

Among those with high levels of the virus, the test identified 98% of those with symptoms and 90% of those without symptoms.

The results are about the same as what was found in real-world studies before Omicron emerged.

Some earlier preliminary studies had raised questions about whether rapid antigen tests might be less sensitive to Omicron than other variants.

Scientists are still trying to determine how well at-home tests work for Omicron.

Researchers say that the new research, done with nasal swabs, does not address how early in infection the rapid tests can spot the variant, or whether they would perform better with saliva samples.

These questions will be answered by future studies.

If you care about Covid, please read studies about most effective face-mask practices to reduce spread of COVID-19, and existing drugs that could help treat COVID-19.

For more information about Covid, please see recent studies about when will the omicron surge be over, and results showing that many COVID-19 survivors suffer from a new disability, lung damage.

The study is published on medRxiv. One author of the study is Joseph DeRisi.

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