Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.39 7 May 2021


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The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said he is 'concerned' about DIY antigen tests being sold by supermarkets.

Dr Holohan said he is worried about people getting false reassurance.

"Just to give you a practical example: in a situation where it is easily available to people to go and buy antigen tests, we're concerned that somebody could go into a supermarket and buy - for example - a pound of sausages, charcoal for a barbeque and an antigen test.

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"And think 'Great' and they don't have to take the restrictions.

"That represents a real risk to our pandemic response".

He was speaking after retailer Lidl announced it was selling them in packs of five for €24.99.

Each customer is only be allowed to buy five packs at a time.

A Xiamen Boson Biotech test being sold by Lidl. A Xiamen Boson Biotech test being sold by Lidl. Picture: Lidl Ireland

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, similar to a home pregnancy test.

However Lidl is urging shoppers to continue to "stringently follow the public health advice", and hopes that the tests add "an extra level of reassurance".

The Xiamen Boson Biotech test being sold by Lidl is one of 16 brands that was recognised by the European Union in February.

At the time it was in use in Germany, France, Belgium and Bulgaria.

However the tests are not accepted as part of the current international travel restrictions.

Main image: A Boson Biotech Covid-19 antigen test is seen outside a Lidl supermarket in Drumcondra in Dublin. Picture by: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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