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Rapid antigen testing can reduce the spread of Covid if done right

With the Federal Government and TGA approving the sale of rapid antigen self-tests (RATs) for Australians, they are becoming increasingly available via employers, online or in supermarkets and chemists in most States.

Rapid antigen tests indicate whether the individual has the SARS CoV-2 virus, even when asymptomatic, and are used to protect the most vulnerable – including those who are immunocompromised, the elderly, and children who have yet to be vaccinated. Rapid antigen testing is an extra protective measure if used correctly.

With an estimated 90 percent of the population glossing over instructions, however, assuming most of it can be figured out by using common sense, health officials are advising people that not all products are created equal – varying from moderately to very highly sensitive – and that following the prescribed directions is vital.

Fortunately, the launch of the Gardian Self Check App, a state-of-the-art proactive application available for IoS and Android ensures there is a robust protocol in place for organisations to implement repeatable, self-managed COVID-19 testing and reporting.

Graham Gordon, Founder and CEO of Gardian, and developer of the Gardian Self Check App said: “Misinterpretation of rapid antigen test results can have significant public health consequences, including inappropriate management of the individual and their contacts.

“Unfortunately, there are a number of influencers, and even media channels getting the self-test procedure wrong, and when it comes to public safety – and dare we say it – life and death situations, there is no room for guessing whether or not the process has been done correctly.”

Rapid antigen testing is the ideal way to reduce the spread of Covid-19 – if done right. 

And done right means using tests that have a very high accuracy (overall agreement of 95 per cent and above). It also means capturing consent, storing information appropriately, having an auditable process and the ability to report results to individuals, their employers and health departments, all in under 20 minutes.

“Inaccurately likened to ‘over the counter’ pregnancy tests, rapid antigen tests are a sophisticated diagnostic tool for an infectious and dangerous disease – and an incorrect result has the very real potential to harm others,” adds Gordon.

The Gardian Self Check App ensures a comprehensive protocol for repeatable, structured COVID-19 self-testing and reporting so is an ideal intervention for organisations and public venues needing to provide a safe environment. It is also an effective solution for addressing the concerns of hesitant health officials in SA and WA.

With the ability to be used in conjunction with a number of highly and very highly sensitive RATs, the Gardian Self Check App operates from a cloud-based platform that manages applied tests in a controlled protocol. Offering the option of an online instructional video, the app provides a step-by-step guide for the individual and enables the capture and recording of individual consent and proof of test result. While recording all relevant info of the individual for action and follow up, it also registers batch number and test kit to the individual being tested so can be tracked and traced (if required). 

The image of the test result is stored and displayed as part of the test result certificate. When sharing results, the image capture allows the individual to provide proof that the test was completed, that it is a valid interpretation of the test outcome and that it was completed in accordance with the instructions for use. More importantly, for anyone who is symptomatic, their information is used to forward a referral to the medical provider.

And as security and privacy are of paramount importance, all data recorded via the app is protected and used in accordance with the AMA Code of Ethics (2016). Using bank level encryption to ensure that every piece of data stored remains 100 percent safe, data is hosted by Google Cloud Services.

A key feature of using the Gardian Self Check App is the level of information and support provided to the user throughout the process. Receiving a ‘positive’ result can be frightening and isolating if there aren’t several support resources available to reach out to, and Gardian offer multiple platforms including a dedicated clinician and help line to answer questions and follow up on end results.

The consistency and repeatability of the Gardian Self Check process makes it ideal for Point of Care and high-volume testing centres.

Organisations wishing to use Gardian software for self-based rapid antigen testing also have access to comprehensive levels of training and support including online training via a resources page, webinar-style video training, technical phone support and face-to-face training subject to health directives.

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