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Almost As Good

The New York Times reports that a small study has found that a rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 works about as well as a PCR test.

A University of California, San Francisco-led team compared Abbott's BinaxNOW test for the coronavirus to a PCR approach under real-world conditions. According to the Times, UCSF's Joe DeRisi and his colleagues offered testing to commuters in San Francisco's Mission District and took two swabs from each participant, one for rapid testing and one for PCR testing. The Times notes that the participants — 878 people took part — only received their PCR result, but that the researchers analyzed both sets of results.

Within this group, 26 people tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on the PCR test and 15 of those also tested positive on the BinaxNOW test, according to the Times, which notes that the analysis has not yet been peer reviewed or published. It adds that when the researchers focused on PCR test results that indicated a high viral load, the BinaxNOW test detected 15 of those 16 individuals.

"This card will do pretty well at detecting the most infectious people, the people who are actually spreading virus," DeRisi tells the Times.