The professor David Navarro directs the study of the rapid antigen test in asymptomatic contacts of patients with COVID-19

  • Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit
  • November 23rd, 2020
David Navarro.

The INCLIVA Health Research Institute of the Clinical Hospital of Valencia has evaluated, over the last month, the Panbio ™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device rapid antigen test in 600 asymptomatic people who have been in contact with patients with COVID -19. The study, coordinated by David Navarro, professor of Microbiology at the University of Valencia, researcher at INCLIVA and Head of the Microbiology Service at Clinical Hospital, is pending publication and concludes that the test is less sensitive in this population than in symptomatic ones.

The study, which has been developed at the Malvarrosa Health Centre, continues the one carried out on 412 patients with symptoms of COVID-19, between September 2 and October 7, in the different health centres of the Malvarrosa Clinic Department, which showed that the sensitivity of these detection kits compared to PCR tests is around 80% –with differences according to viral load– and that patients who test positive for COVID-19 in the PCR and negative in the antigen testing are “unlikely to be contagious”.

In fact, “in the samples that were PCR-positive but antigen-negative, it was not possible to grow the virus, so it is considered that people with symptoms with a negative result in the antigen test are at low risk of contagion”, as explained by David Navarro, main researcher of INCLIVA in these studies.

In both tests – on people with COVID-19 symptoms and asymptomatic ones who have been in contact with positives – the data from the rapid antigen test (which offers results in 15 minutes) have been analysed, compared to the PCR test, considered to be reference.

In the first of the studies, out of 412 patients with symptoms, 43 (10.4%) were positive both in the PCR test and in the antigen test; 358 (86.9%) were negative using both methods; and the results were discordant in 11 patients (2.7%).

David Navarro stressed that “early diagnosis in these people is critical” and has highlighted the fact that it is “the first field work, in real life, to diagnose COVID-19 in people with symptoms”.

The results of the study on people with COVID-19 symptoms have been published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection, in a work titled «Field evaluation of a rapid antigen test (Panbio ™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device) for COVID-19 diagnosis in primary healthcare centers».



Albert E, Torres I, Bueno F, Huntley D, Molla E, Fernández-Fuentes MÁ, Martínez M, Poujois S, Forqué L, Valdivia A, Solano de la Asunción C, Ferrer J, Colomina J, Navarro D, «Field evaluation of a rapid antigen test (Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device) for COVID-19 diagnosis in primary healthcare centers», Clinical Microbiology and Infection. Link: