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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Tour operator comes with rapid test on corona, despite fierce criticism

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The quick test by tour operator Corendon to show whether someone has been infected with the coronavirus is not reliable. The use of this so-called “Orient Gene Rapid Test” and other rapid tests is today by the RIVM and the Taskforce Serology not recommended.

Nevertheless, Corendon plans to open registration for the test tomorrow. Anyone aged 16 or older can register and come to an Amsterdam hotel. The test costs 69 euros and should indicate by means of a blood test in the finger after 15 minutes whether someone has built up antibodies against the coronavirus.

Total nonsense

The quick test for antibodies is not mandatory for holidaymakers who want to join the ‘corona-free’ holidays that Corendon wants to offer this summer. Before the trip, those travelers must undergo a PCR test that shows whether someone has the coronavirus at that time.

“Apparent safety is the only thing you buy with that antibody test. It is total nonsense and I would not advise anyone,” says Corine Geurts van Kessel, virologist at Erasmus MC and member of the Task Force Serology of the National Coordination Test Capacity.

“People can draw the wrong conclusions after such a test and, for example, can no longer keep that 1.5 meters away because they think they are immune. But we still do not know enough about that immunity,” she says.

Corendon: test is reliable

Corendon says in a response that the rapid test offered complies with European regulations. For reliability, the company refers to a Swedish study and to an Erasmus MC study. “This test showed the Orient Gene Rapid Test to be the best in terms of specificity and sensitivity. In short, we are convinced based on facts that we can use this antibody test.”

But Corine Geurts van Kessel, who conducted that research at Erasmus, does not share that view. “There are now very few people who have antibodies against the coronavirus in the body. For a reliable result, you need to be sure that the test is specific enough and therefore do not accidentally notice another corona or influenza virus. In addition, you must be sure that your test actually picks up the antibodies out there. The test we are talking about here is not doing this well enough. “

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