According to a review published in the Cochrane Library, there is insufficient evidence to show that point-of-care tests to detect the presence of Covid-19 in the community or in primary or secondary care settings are accurate.
“Several diagnostic strategies are available to identify or rule out ongoing infection, identify people who need more care or to test for previous infection and immune response,” said Jacqueline Dinnes, of the University of Birmingham in Great Britain, first. author of the review.
“Point-of-care antigen and molecular tests to detect ongoing infection have the potential to allow for early detection and isolation of confirmed cases compared to laboratory diagnostic methods, with the aim of reducing domestic transmission and community ”he continues. The researchers focused on the work that analyzed antigen tests, which identify proteins present on the virus using disposable devices, and molecular tests, which detect viral RNA using portable or tabletop devices, to evaluate its effectiveness. .
Altogether they looked at 22 studies from around the world, which compared point-of-care tests with Rt-Pcr analysis. Well, from what emerged, three quarters of the studies did not follow the instructions of the manufacturers of the point-of-care tests. Additionally, little information about study participants was present in the papers, so it was not possible to say whether the results could be applied to people without symptoms, mild symptoms, or severe symptoms.
Among other things, the studies were often shown to be at risk of bias, or were not detailed in methodology. “Currently the evidence in our possession is not strong enough to say whether these tests are accurate enough to be used in clinical practice. For this, further studies are urgently needed ”conclude the authors.