Nphet asks public not to rely on supermarket antigen tests

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has said people should not buy Covid-19 antigen tests sold in supermarkets due to the risk of false results.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is “genuinely concerned” about the sale of the testing kits and their use in uncontrolled circumstances, the chief medical officer said.

Dr Holohan said their use poses a “real risk” to the fight against the virus because of the possibility of false negative results.

Lidl started selling Covid-19 antigen tests this week at a cost of €24.99 for a pack of five.

The Covid-19 antigen test uses a swab to take a sample from your nose; however, the sample does not need to go to a lab and the results are back within 15-20 minutes.

PCR testing

Antigen testing is quicker but less reliable than PCR testing, which looks at the genetic material of the virus in a lab and is the most reliable way of knowing if you are currently infected.


While PCR testing remains the gold standard when it comes to Covid tests, antigen tests are being considered as an option for hospitality businesses to reopen while they have already been used in office and corporate settings.

Meanwhile, Dr Holohan urged Leaving Cert students to take “every measure” in cutting their contacts in the buildup to next month’s State Exams.

Four additional Covid-19 related deaths and 434 additional cases have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland today.

There has now been a total of 4,918 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland along with 251,904 confirmed cases.

Of the cases notified today:

  • 221 are men/212 are women.
  • 80 per cent are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 31 years old.
  • 197 cases are in Dublin, 44 in Cork, 34 in Kildare, 20 in Limerick, 20 in Meath and the remaining 119 cases are spread across 16 other counties.