Skåne and Stockholm roll out rapid coronavirus tests

Skåne and Stockholm roll out rapid coronavirus tests
A rapid test device in Munich, Germany. Photo: AP Photo/Matthias Schrader/TT
The southern Swedish region of Skåne is among the first in the country to roll out rapid coronavirus testing, with tests that give a result in only 15 minutes.

The region has bought 200,000 of the so-called antigen tests, which are intended to be used alongside the existing methods of testing, with a focus on the healthcare sectors.

The test is done by taking a nasal swab, and gives a positive or negative result for an ongoing Covid-19 infection within 15 minutes.

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“By starting to use rapid tests, we can shorten response times, which is of great value for individual patients but also key to being able to free up care resources and laboratory capacity. This means that we can report more quickly on infection levels in, for example, nursing homes or when tests need to be done at doctors' offices,” said Lars Kristensson, the region's head of medical administration, in a statement.

The idea is that by finding out whether staff in key roles, like medical and care workers, have the virus, there will be less risk both of staff with cold symptoms but who don't have the coronavirus being kept off work, and of asymptomatic people carrying the virus coming into contact with patients.

Sweden's capital, Stockholm, has also launched a pilot study where the rapid tests are used in an elderly care home and the results compared with those from the usual tests, called PCR tests. This study is being coordinated by the Public Health Agency, Stockholm Disease Control and the Karolinska Institute.


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