02 Oct 2022

Minister Harris is 'encouraged' by antigen testing at third level colleges

Minister Harris is 'encouraged' by antigen testing at third level colleges

Minister Harris is 'encouraged' by antigen testing at third level colleges

Rapid antigen testing has been introduced into a selected number of higher-level institutions in Ireland on a pilot basis.

Two separate pilot testing programmes are running across third-level institutions at present.

UniCov is led by the National University of Ireland, Galway, and is running in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and University College Cork.

The scheme is designed to 'apply testing, screening and surveillance strategies used by Public Health to assist with early warning systems for disease' 

1,975 participants have signed up to UniCov thus far, with 1,557 of those testing twice weekly for two weeks, and 393 testing twice weekly for 8 weeks. 

12,836 tests have been carried out since the beginning of the pilot scheme. 

The second pilot programme is running in conjunction with the HSE which involves several further education centres and higher-education institutions.

Students and Staff are being encouraged to sign up and test themselves twice a week voluntarily.

Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris said on the Pat Kenny Show: "It is not detecting a huge amount of Covid however, when it does detect Covid, in the overwhelming majority of cases it is being confirmed by a PCR test."

Minister Harris is 'encouraged' by this news as 'it is a view he has had for a long time'

"These antigen tests can have a role to play early and rapidly identifying somebody who could be potentially infectious and the PCR testing is tallying with that." He added. 

A report will be released to Simon Harris within the next month from experts who will advise if this pilot should be rolled out in third-level institutions across the country. 

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