Antigen testing for indoor dining could be a 'recipe for disaster', warns immunologist

ireland
Antigen Testing For Indoor Dining Could Be A 'Recipe For Disaster', Warns Immunologist
Prof Kingston Mills said antigen tests have their uses, but could be "a recipe for disaster".
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Immunologist Prof Kingston Mills has warned that antigen testing could be abused and advised that tests should be supervised.

While antigen testing has a role to play, he said the use of such tests for indoor hospitality "could be a recipe for disaster".

Speaking to RTÉ radio's Today with Claire Byrne show, Prof Mills said self-administered tests would not be appropriate as a means to avail of indoor dining, following comments over the weekend from Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

Mr Coveney said antigen tests may play a role in the further reopening of the hospitality sector, so indoor dining could be extended beyond people who are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus.

Representatives from the hospitality sector are due to meet with the Government today to discuss plans for the reopening, which has been earmarked for July 19th.

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However, Prof Mills was sceptical regarding the use of antigen tests as, he said, there is no way of verifying a negative antigen test result and there is no way of knowing that the test had been carried out on a specific person’s saliva.

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“There are a lot of logistical hurdles to be cleared” before antigen testing could be used for the hospitality sector, he said.

Other EU countries are already using antigen testing or a digital cert system, but the details of how such a system could be implemented in Ireland had yet to be completed, he added.

Prof Mills noted there is a huge benefit to antigen testing in the workplace and in large sporting and cultural events, but it was tricker in small venues.

The sooner everyone was vaccinated, the better, he added, as antigen testing was not 100 per cent accurate and had to be used with caution.

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