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Rapid antigen test now available to eye health practices

A TGA approved, 10-minute rapid antigen test is now available for eye health practices to test staff and patients for COVID-19 – especially the unvaccinated. The test kit supplier believes they could also play a role in future industry trade shows.

Melbourne-based Good Optical Services is now the exclusive supplier to the ophthalmic industry for the CareStart COVID-19 rapid antigen test, which is registered with Australian Therapeutic goods Administration (TGA), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is CE marked.

This follows extensive clinical trials out of the US demonstrating a sensitivity of 94% and specificity of 99.3%. CareStart also has independent validation data from the Doherty Institute, NSW Health (Westmead) and PathWest.

With thousands of optometry practices and ophthalmology clinics unable to provide routine care for many months this year, it’s hoped the tests will provide peace of mind as they welcome increased foot traffic and face challenges with handling unvaccinated patients, reps and other visitors.

Mr Rick Good, of Good Optical Services, said practices could routinely test practice staff and patients – vaccinated or not. If someone at the practice days earlier later tests positive, they may be able to show the person was negative while at the practice.

“As we open up more there are going to be more grey areas than before, so this is about providing peace and mind in the practice with a highly accurate test,” he said.

“And hopefully when we open up even further with trade shows next year, attendees can take the test at the door and maybe even allow unvaccinated people to visit the exhibition.”

According to Good Optical Services, the CareStart rapid antigen test is the most sensitive of all TGA approved tests as validated by NSW Health. The Federal Government and AUSMAT have used it for daily testing of staff at Howard Springs and on international deployments. It’s also being used for the government’s aged care pilot in south-west Sydney and large companies such as Commonwealth Bank, Fortescue Metals Group, Lendlease, DHL and Qantas.

The test provides results within 10 minutes, which Good Optical says makes it highly suitable for quick action at the point-of-care. Anterior (shallow) nasal sampling collects from the front area of the nose and is less invasive, reducing patient discomfort and simplifying the overall testing procedure.

“Anterior nasal swab samples may be particularly useful for children and elderly people, especially when used for frequent testing,” Good said.

CareStart is manufactured by US-based Access Bio, a pioneer in rapid diagnostic testing and world leading supplier of rapid malaria tests, manufacturing 130 million annually.

To comply with TGA guidelines the optometrist or ophthalmologist needs to pre-register and a nominated practice staff member will need to undertake a short online course before the practice can begin to use them.

All components are contained in each 20-test kit, including individually wrapped test devices, pre-prepared extraction vials with buffer solution and vial caps, sterile anterior nasal swabs, instructions for use and positive and negative controls.

Good said the company was charging a low price for the kits in a bid “to keep the industry moving”.

Contact Good Optical Services on (03) 9645 1066 or orders@goodopticalservices.com.au.

More reading

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Victorian optometrists to administer COVID-19 vaccines

Contending with a COVID practice closure

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