In this comparison, we have compared the most common lay tests for use in the anterior nasal region on the market based on various criteria. Some of the results surprised us ourselves.
You will find the test identification number for each test here, which can be used to identify the test.
Contents of self-test kitsThe first differences begin with the contents of the packaging. The most necessary materials are included in each test kit: test cassette, extraction buffer, sterile swab and instructions for use. However, many amateur testers (this is no different with Profitest) do not have a plastic bag for disposal of the materials used in the package. The only lay tests that show a biosafety bag are the well-known Hotgen and the new test winner Citest Diagnostics lay test. This also has a tube holder included. The buffer solution can be safely placed in it for carrying out the test.
Sensitivity, specificity and overall sensitivityWhat you should know: The sensitivity values given in the instructions for use only refer to use with a high virus concentration. So this value says nothing about the accuracy of the rapid test at a medium or low virus concentration. That is why the Paul Ehrlich Institute has published a list of specially tested rapid tests. Here, too, the rapid tests were tested for accuracy at medium (ct>25<30) and low (ct>30) viral loads. The specificity is consistently at a level above 99% in all lay tests that we have compared. The sensitivity given in the package leaflet at high virus concentrations is consistently >95% in all lay tests. An exception here is the layman’s test by Beier Bioengineering, which already stands out negatively here with 77.8%. When comparing the sensitivity at an average virus concentration (ct>25<30), significantly more deviations are already noticeable. According to the measurements of the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, 4 tested amateur tests have a sensitivity of less than 66% or 2/3. These include the lay test from Baier Bioengineering with 0% sensitivity, the Hotgen antigen self-test with 52% sensitivity, the Safecare antigen self-test with 62% sensitivity, and the Joinstar COVID-19 antigen rapid test (Collodial Gold) with 64% accuracy at one medium viral load. The Green Spring lay test and the brand new VivaChek Rapid Gold Pro lay test still perform very well here with a sensitivity of 95%. However, the undisputed winner in this category is the amateur test from Citest Diagnostics, which was able to shine with 100% accuracy in the measurement results. With a low viral load (ct>30), most lay tests detect almost nothing. This also includes the Hotgen lay test, which is probably the most popular lay test on the market. It is therefore all the more important to pay close attention to this value when selecting a suitable self-test. The only lay tests in our comparison that can still reliably detect an infection with a low viral load according to the PEI are:
- the Green Spring lay test with 40% accuracy
- the Vivacheck Rapid Gold Pro amateur test with 94% accuracy
- the Citest Diagnostics antigen lay test with 90% accuracy