Western Australia Trials Non-TGA-Approved Covid Swab Test
Uncovering community transmission
In an Australian first, Western Australia are trailing a new Covid testing regime that has not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The study will start on Saturday, with a team of researchers collecting essential data in randomised household doorknocks across the metropolitan area, hoping to gauge how the virus is spreading undetected in the community.
Under 900 volunteers of varying ages, will be asked to take part in the study which will be conducted over several weekends.
The process involves a self-administered saliva sample being taken.
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“This new type of saliva-based test — called a LAMP assay and currently approved for research purposes — has been proven to be as effective as a rapid antigen test,” lead researcher Professor Nick Golding said.
“The test isn’t yet registered approved as a diagnostic test, but we’ll contact anyone who returns a positive result from the saliva sample to let them know they should get a RAT or PCR test.”
- Prof Golding
Telethon Kids Institute will be conducting the study alongside Curtin University, with an injected boost of more than $130,000 from the state government for the project.
With the state reaching its Omicron peak, Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said it was “the ideal time” for the study to be conducted.
“We have always suspected that there are more Covid-19 cases in the community than daily testing results show,” she said.
“We know that some people who get Covid are asymptomatic. People who are feeling perfectly normal are probably not going to get tested unless they are required to under isolation rules."
“This research will be another tool for us to better understand the spread of the virus,” Ms Sanderson said.
Suburbs targeted for the study will include Bayswater, Bassendean, Perth City, Belmont, Victoria Park, Cottesloe, Claremont, Stirling, Canning, Melville, Fremantle and South Perth.
A letterbox drop will inform residents of the study, and that potential knock at the door.
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