Antigen test (illustrative)
Antigen test (illustrative) iStock

New data published Saturday night on Hadashot Sof Hashavua showed that rapid tests miss approximately half of COVID-19 diagnoses.

The Defense Ministry's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure took all of the antigen tests conducted this week by the various testing companies, and discovered that just 1.8% of those who underwent official antigen tests received a positive result - a rate far below that of the PCR tests.

The rate of those testing negative on antigen tests despite testing positive on PCR tests was 47%. At the same time, the percentage of those testing positive on antigen tests but negative on PCR tests was 37%.

Professor Gili Regev from Sheba-Tel Hashomer Medical Center suggested a simple way to improve the efficacy of antigen tests: "Testing only the nose apparently misses Omicron [cases]. We need to place the swab in the pharynx, and move from there to the nose. Only then will the sensitivity rise."

Earlier this week, internal Health Ministry data revealed that among the general public, the antigen tests miss result about 50% of the positive cases recorded by the PCR tests. Among those aged 18 and over, the antigen tests missed 61% of positive cases. For the unvaccinated, the antigen test misses 72% of those who are subsequently verified through a PCR test.