Less than a third of people with positive antigen tests went on to get a PCR test - Philip Nolan 6 days ago

Less than a third of people with positive antigen tests went on to get a PCR test - Philip Nolan

4,181 new cases of Covid were confirmed today.

NPHET member Professor Philip Nolan shared that of those who tested positive on an antigen test, less than a third went on to confirm via a PCR test.


The Chair of NPHET's Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group spoke about the current Covid situation on RTÉ Radio 1's This Week on Sunday (21 November).

"The health system right now is under enormous strain, and we need to see that as a collective call to action", he said.

"The only way out of this over the next few weeks is for each and every one of us to play our part in preventing transmission."

Professor Nolan suggested reducing social contacts by about 30% could make a significant difference in lowering the level of Covid transmission.

"It is possible, as the Chief Medical Officer (Tony Holohan) says, through relatively minor adjustments in our level of social contact to bring this virus back under control", he explained.

Antigen tests were discussed on the programme as well, following Tony Holohan's suggestion not to provide subsidies for tests, fearing that they may be used incorrectly.

"Antigen tests have a use. Right now, our own data shows us that antigen tests are not being used well", said Professor Nolan.


"For instance, of people who used an antigen test in the last week or so, for those who were symptomatic and with a positive antigen test, less than a third of them went on to get the confirmed through PCR test.

"So we have those legitimate concerns that we know that tests are not being used well, and our objective is to encourage people to use those tests properly", he added.

NPHET are recommending the use of antigen tests if you are an asymptomatic close contact or someone who has been involved in an activity that would put you at higher risk of contracting the virus, such as going to clubs, bars or restaurants.

"If you have symptoms, you need a PCR test", Nolan concluded.