Carolyne Horner discusses the diversity of point-of-care tests (POCTs) available for the rapid detection of infection and the key issues relevant to their uptake.
Point-of-care testing, in the form of lateral flow testing for SARS-CoV-2 antigen, has become familiar to many during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Carolyne Horner discusses the diversity of point-of-care tests (POCTs) available for the rapid detection of infection and the key issues relevant to their uptake by UK healthcare.
Since the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, awareness of infectious diseases and the need for rapid diagnostic tests has never been higher. While a defined timeframe for a ‘rapid’ diagnostic test is lacking;1 most would agree that provision of results to the end user within two hours would qualify.2
Broadly speaking, a diagnostic pointof-care test (POCT) is “testing that is performed near or at the site of the patient, with the result leading to a possible change in the care of the patient.”3 However, definitions vary and there is an ever-growing list of alternative names for point-ofcare (including, rapid diagnostics, near patient, satellite, decentralised, remote or patient centred testing). Point-of-care and near-patient testing tend to be used interchangeably, whereas other terms are more bespoke according to requirements. Given the level of variation associated with POC testing, a grading system based on the location and person completing the test has been suggested (Table 1).1
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