Questions Raised Over COVID Tests Amid Omicron Spread

Health minister admits experts unsure how reliable rapid antigen tests are

Image Credits: Patrick van Katwijk/BSR Agency/Getty Images.

Germany’s health minister has admitted that experts are unsure how reliable rapid antigen tests are given the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. He announced a study into the testing kits.

Speaking to public broadcasting channel ARD on Sunday, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said there were serious concerns about their effectiveness. 

“We do not know exactly how well these tests work for Omicron,” Lauterbach, a scientist and physician, said of the tests that are widely used around the world.

However, he contended that “the alternative not to test at all … would be far too dangerous.”

The minister said the state was commissioning a study to gauge the effectiveness of the tests in detecting whether an individual has been infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19. 

The study results will become available within the next few weeks.

Earlier on Sunday, Lauterbach said Germany must revisit its strategy for Covid-19 vaccinations, noting a possible need to develop new vaccines should a more deadly variant emerge. 

The highly contagious Omicron variant now accounts for 44% of coronavirus infections in Germany, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

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