Freedomroo – Australians forced to wait DAYS for Covid test results while rest of the world opts for rapid kits

'Rapid antigen testing which is quite common in other parts of the world and you could really unload a lot of the testing burden through this phase to rapid antigen testing where you get the result in 15 to 30 minutes at a cost of $5 or $10,' Dr Norman Swan told The project (pictured)

One of Australia’s most respected doctors has called for super-fast coronavirus tests which give results in just 15 minutes to be rolled out Down Under.

Currently, tens of thousands of Australians across four locked down states are forced to wait for hours in queues to get tested for Covid-19 and then must remain in self isolation for days to receive their results. 

The crippling results are thousands of out work and confined to their homes, while other developed nations are using at home kits which cost just $5 and give results in as little as 15 minutes.  

Rapid antigen tests have been a godsend in places like the UK, where football fans at this month’s Euros and revellers heading out to nightclubs for the first time in 16 months were able to show they’d tested negative using a rapid lateral flow test as a condition of entry.

Down Under, these rapid tests are not in use due to concerns about their accuracy, but a chorus of medical experts are now calling for the kits to be given the green light with over 14 million Australians currently living in lockdown.

‘Rapid antigen testing which is quite common in other parts of the world and you could really unload a lot of the testing burden through this phase to rapid antigen testing where you get the result in 15 to 30 minutes at a cost of $5 or $10,’ Dr Norman Swan told The project (pictured)

What are rapid antigen Covid tests?

Rapid antigen Covid tests cost as little as $5, can be purchased at pharmacies and have been in use right across the globe

The testing kits work by detecting proteins found on the surface of the virus, rather than genetic material, which is what laboratory, or polymerase chain reaction (PCR), tests look for.

PCR tests have traditionally been considered more accurate at identifying cases when a patient is further along in their disease progression.

However, swabs need to be sent to a laboratory and take two to three tests for results to return where as rapid antigen take just 15 minutes to return.

Australian medical authorities have held off on using the tests because they have been determined to be less accurate.

But new research shows they can be just as accurate as lab testing if carried out every three days. 

‘There is a problem with our testing regime,’ Dr Norman Swan told The Project on Wednesday.

‘Rapid antigen testing which is quite common in other parts of the world and you could really unload a lot of the testing burden through this phase to rapid antigen testing where you get the result in 15 to 30 minutes at a cost of $5 or $10.’

In contrast, a laboratory Covid test costs about $100, and are being carried out by private companies – who oppose the cheaper, faster tests.

‘A river of gold has been flowing into the pathology services around the country who have opposed rapid testing, when you could open up workplaces,’ Dr Swan said.

‘We have to work out how to ramp up testing because we might not get over this in NSW and how will we live with this until we get 80 per cent of people vaccinated?

‘Rapid testing might be the way to go to unload the regular testing so you can allow things to open up.’

The calls come as South Australians queued for five hours in Adelaide on Wednesday to get traditional tests as the state’s outbreak grew to 12 cases, with others complaining of having to wait nearly a week for results in hotspot areas in Sydney.

Clubbers queue around the block waiting for Covid-19 restrictions to be dropped in the UK this last weekend - with rapid coronavirus tests becoming the norm for many industries including festivals and sports games

Clubbers queue around the block waiting for Covid-19 restrictions to be dropped in the UK this last weekend – with rapid coronavirus tests becoming the norm for many industries including festivals and sports games

Partygoers queuing for the Viaduct Bar in Leeds are seen after the final legal coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England at midnight on Sunday

Partygoers queuing for the Viaduct Bar in Leeds are seen after the final legal coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England at midnight on Sunday

Clubbers take to the dance floor just minutes after Pryzm nightclub in in Brighton, UK, threw open its doors to celebrate the relaxing of Covid-19 rules - while Australia is back in lockdown

Clubbers take to the dance floor just minutes after Pryzm nightclub in in Brighton, UK, threw open its doors to celebrate the relaxing of Covid-19 rules – while Australia is back in lockdown

Antigen tests work by detecting proteins found on the surface of the virus, rather than genetic material, which is what the typical laboratory, or polymerase chain reaction (PCR), tests look for.

PCR tests have traditionally been considered more accurate at identifying cases when a patient is further along in their disease progression.

However, swabs need to be sent to a laboratory and take two to three tests for results to return where as rapid antigen take just 15 minutes to return.

Australian medical authorities have held off on using the tests because they have been determined to be less accurate.

Stadiums across Europe were packed out for the Euro 2020 tournament, with rapid coronavirus tests a standard feature of most games

Stadiums across Europe were packed out for the Euro 2020 tournament, with rapid coronavirus tests a standard feature of most games 

For the Euros, many European stadiums accepted a negative rapid coronavirus as proof a spectator didn't have Covid

For the Euros, many European stadiums accepted a negative rapid coronavirus as proof a spectator didn’t have Covid 

Italy fans pack together in the stands at Wembley yesterday as 60,000 were allowed in for the semi final game against Spain - with fans having to present a negative rapid lateral flow test or proof of vaccination

Italy fans pack together in the stands at Wembley yesterday as 60,000 were allowed in for the semi final game against Spain – with fans having to present a negative rapid lateral flow test or proof of vaccination

In fact, some doctors in Australia have even been threatened with jail if they use the low-cost kits on their patients.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, under the Public Health Act, restricted the use of coronavirus rapid tests, with breaches of the restrictions punishable by six months imprisonment.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has also urged health professionals to avoid using the tests.

‘The issue is with false reassurance, so after contracting COVID-19 it takes a bit of time for those tests to turn positive,’ Dr Bruce Willett told Daily Mail Australia last year. 

A huge Covid-19 testing queue is seen in Hindmarsh, Adelaide, as Australians queue for hours for standard coronavirus tests

A huge Covid-19 testing queue is seen in Hindmarsh, Adelaide, as Australians queue for hours for standard coronavirus tests

Pictured: Cars line up at the Victoria Park testing facility on Wakefield Street in Adelaide on Tuesday, with some forced to wait for five hours

Pictured: Cars line up at the Victoria Park testing facility on Wakefield Street in Adelaide on Tuesday, with some forced to wait for five hours

‘And the concern is that if people do these tests too early in the course of the illness they will get a false negative result.

‘They may then ignore advice about isolating and normal social distancing precautions.’

But a recent study from the National Institutes of Health at the University of Illinois in the US actually found that rapid antigen tests are just as accurate as laboratory tests when used every three days.

The results showed that both test types were successful at identifying 98 percent of Covid cases.

An international expert in the field of rapid antigen tests, who asked to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia their use has the ability to end lockdowns and should be deployed.

Pictured: The contents of a UK Government Coronavirus antigen home test kit

Pictured: The contents of a UK Government Coronavirus antigen home test kit

Australian doctors who use a coronavirus 'rapid test' (pictured above) could be jailed for six months over fears the blood test could spread the virus by providing false negatives

Australian doctors who use a coronavirus ‘rapid test’ (pictured above) could be jailed for six months over fears the blood test could spread the virus by providing false negatives 

‘The big problem with the current policy is: (they say) if you have symptoms, get tested and PCR will pick it up. That’s correct. The problem is if you don’t have symptoms you don’t go for a test and you don’t get picked-up.

‘That’s why when there’s fragments in a town, they should go in and screen everybody in that town because it’s the asymptomatic people causing that reading otherwise if they had symptoms they’d have gone and got tested.’

Revellers in the UK, who were gearing up to for ‘Freedom Day’ and the opening of the country’s nightclubs after 16 months, were given the green light to party with the help of rapid testing.

The pharmacy-bought kits also allowed football fans to flood stadiums for this month’s Euro soccer championships. 

Dr Swan outlines Scott Morrison’s coronavirus failures 

– Failure to procure enough Pfizer when he had a chance.

– Failure to contact Pfizer CEO like other leaders did.

– Leaving the vaccine rollout to mid-level bureaucrats in the least operational government department – the Health Department.

– Bypassing our normal vaccination infrastructure to create their own with people who have never done it before.

– Going into aged care too slowly, too late, and not immunising staff while they were there with the vaccine.

– Having an inadequate quarantine process for overseas arrivals.

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