Coronavirus rapid-antigen tests will be available in Lidl stores all across Ireland from tomorrow.
The German discount supermarket chain is selling the tests in packs of five for €24.99.
Each customer will only be allowed to buy five packs at a time.
Antigen tests are less sensitive than the PCR tests used by the HSE; however, they offer results in around half an hour.
They work in much the same way as the PCR – requiring a swab from the back of your nose or throat as a sample.
The sample is then applied to a paper strip, with the result revealed as a band on the paper, much like a home pregnancy test.
As we add these antigen tests to our range, we urge our shoppers to continue to stringently follow the public health advice. We hope that by offering them, these tests will add an extra level of reassurance to our customers as they follow that advice. pic.twitter.com/RJx21lq2fd
— Lidl Ireland (@lidl_ireland) May 6, 2021
While the tests are viewed as reliable when a person is carrying a high viral load, they are far more likely to return false negative results if the person is carrying low amounts of the virus.
The HSE has warned that the test will pick up the virus in most people who have symptoms but can miss it in some cases.
Lidl is encouraging customers to “continue to stringently follow the public health advice” after using the tests.
“We hope that, by offering them, these tests will add an extra level of reassurance to our customers as they follow that advice,” it said.
The Xiamen Boson Biotech test being sold by Lidl is one of 16 brands that was recognised by the EU in February. At the time it was in use in Germany, France, Belgium and Bulgaria.
Clinical trials in Belgium found it to have 93.8% sensitivity (True Positive rate) and 100% specificity (True Negative rate).
The tests are not accepted as part of the current international travel restrictions.