Find out which are the most reliable tests to detect the Omicron variant

Mounting evidence indicates that omicron accumulates primarily in the throat and not in the nose.

In the middle of fourth peak of coronavirus in Colombia, because of the Omicron variant, many Colombians find themselves with symptoms and in suspense of not knowing if what they have is a flu or if, on the contrary, they were infected.

Given the congestion at the test taking sites that the Ministry of Health and the EPS enabled for citizens, the national government issued new guidelines that indicate that all people under 60 years of age and without comorbidities, who present flu symptoms, they must isolate themselves in their homes for 7 days and request a virtual assessment by the health promoting entity. That is to say that the covid test will not be necessary, but at the discretion of the doctor.

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But nevertheless, several employers still request the test to carry out the isolation, but what few know is whether all the tests on the market are suitable for detecting this new variant, which in a matter of days it became the predominant one in the country.

According to several experts consulted by specialized health media, there is a characteristic of omicron which could indeed affect these results.

“Increasing evidence indicates that omicron accumulates mainly in the throat and not in the nose, and this could be the reason why tests based on samples taken from the nose sometimes do not detect the variant at first. However, so far it is only a hypothesis”, indicates an article in The World of Spain.

Thus, antigen tests are a great tool to detect if we have the virus, but scientific studies are not certain of its effectiveness in detecting Omicron, which indicates that false negatives could occur, especially in the first days of infection.

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In warning of the lower sensitivity of antigen tests to detect Omicron, the FDA relied on recent studies by the National Institutes of Health. “These works showed that, although the antigen tests detected the variant, they did so with less sensitivity. This it means that rapid tests will detect the infection less frequently”.

Another investigation carried out on 30 high-risk patients who were tested daily during the December Omicron peak and cited by RedacciónMé, concluded that “Most cases of this variant were infectious for several days before becoming detectable by rapid antigen tests.”

The recommendation is to have another test in case three days pass and symptoms persist, in addition to maintaining the 7-day isolation recommended by the national government.

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