Utah temporarily pauses use of on-site rapid tests

Feb. 9, 2022

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) temporarily paused the use of on-site rapid antigen tests at all state-operated testing sites beginning Monday, February 7. Instead, these sites will offer at-home tests to anyone who receives a PCR test but may also want to receive results faster.

UDOH said it analyzed test results from nearly 18,000 Utah residents who received both GenBody rapid antigen and PCR tests on the same day. Among people who tested positive by PCR, more than half of them tested negative by GenBody rapid antigen test; this was true even for people who reported COVID-like symptoms.”

The state said the difference in the results was much higher than it expected.

“Within the past few weeks, UDOH mobile test teams began using the GenBody rapid antigen test. These teams reported a trend of higher-than-expected negative results from this specific rapid antigen test. This prompted our analysis across a broader timeline and the results motivated our decision to temporarily pause the use of this test” said Leisha Nolen, UDOH State Epidemiologist. “This step is necessary to ensure people receive accurate test results.”

UDOH also said a similar study comparing results from PCR tests and Abbott’s BinaxNow rapid antigen showed better results, with less than one-third getting a negative rapid antigen result when PCR test results were positive. “However, there is a nationwide shortage of BinaxNow tests, and the state’s access to these tests is limited. When the state’s supply chain stabilizes, rapid antigen tests may be reintroduced at state-operated testing sites.” UDOH said.

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