Clinical diagnostics provider Beckman Coulter has introduced its $4 high-throughput antigen test to support the US government’s plan to invest over $12bn to expand Covid-19 testing.

The company is now offering its affordable Access SARS-CoV-2 Ag lab antigen test, which is suitable for mass screening testing.

In December last year, Beckman Coulter announced that its $4 antigen test will be provided to all customers. It has a confirmed 93% positive predictive agreement (PPA) and 100% negative predictive agreement (NPA).

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics president Julie Sawyer Montgomery said: “The key to saving lives while vaccines are being put into arms is still masking, social distancing, regular testing, tracing and isolation.

“Our antigen assay makes the regular testing part of this equation a reality by enabling institutions and communities to implement low-cost, frequent, mass Covid-19 testing with automation, ease of handling and speed to enable scalability.”

The test, which will be able to deliver results within 30 minutes, is run on the company’s immunoassay analysers such as the DxI 800 high-throughput analyser that processes up to 200 samples every 60 minutes.

The antigen test is suitable for use in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, universities and other group settings where repeat testing along with relevant clinical information to detect patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection to minimise transmission.

Designed for use in a large-scale community, workplace or school screening programme, the Access SARS CoV-2 Antigen test samples are collected using a nasopharyngeal or nasal swab.

According to the company, the samples can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours and 48 hours refrigerated (2-8 degrees Celsius) with one freeze/thaw cycle.

Beckman Coulter also offers other Covid-19 testing solutions, including three antibody assays such as Access SARS-CoV-2 IgM, Access SARS CoV-2 IgG and the semi-quantitative SARS-CoV-2 IgG II.

Based on WHO reference ranges, the company is also engaged in the development of a SARS-CoV-2 quantitative IgG assay.

In addition, the firm’s interleukin 6 (IL-6) assay helps physicians to identify severe inflammatory response and determine the risk of intubation with mechanical ventilation in Covid-19 patients.