Corona tests: Every fifth corona test kit is unreliable

Soon there should be more to do again in the Corona test centers, like here in Frankfurt. And the cash registers only pay for quick tests
Image: dpa

Not every corona rapid test works. Nobody knows the extent of this problem – and a technical solution is a long way off.

Et is once again a kind of stepping out of the exit: One month after the end of the “citizen tests”, the now executive federal government is rowing back in view of the incidence records, currently every citizen is again entitled to a free quick test per week. And the traffic light parties decided in the Bundestag to impose tests on unvaccinated workers, which the Bundesrat approved on Friday. Those who visit retirement homes or care facilities have to show a negative test in most cases anyway, as do schoolchildren. The problem with this testing strategy across the board is that not all rapid tests on the market are of sufficient quality – and no one seems to know how many are affected by the shortcomings.

Conventional rapid tests detect corona infections by reacting components in their mix with certain protein structures, so-called antigens, of the viruses. The strength of this method is its simplicity, and it is quick: the result is available in 15 minutes. You don’t need professional staff or a laboratory. That is why the antigen variant is suitable for self-tests that are carried out at home, for example. However, it has weaknesses that affect two categories.

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