Dr. Speights discusses antigen testing announced for NEA and eastern Arkansas

Dr. Speights discusses antigen testing annouced for NEA and eastern Arkansas

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Wednesday, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the Arkansas Department of Health received 12,000 antigen tests. NYITCOM at Arkansas State University will be among those receiving those antigen test.

Dr. Shane Speights, dean of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, broke down the difference these antigen tests will make.

“Since day one, the biggest piece about being able to get a hold of this virus and be able to get ahead of the pandemic is all about testing, testing has to be the priority," Speights said.

Now through a partnership with NYITCOM, Arkansas State, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, mobile testing is on its way for Northeast and Eastern Arkansas.

“We have a mobile healthcare mobile unit that is set up with two clinic rooms, and a lab built into it. And so that’s unique for really any other mobile unit in this area or in or in this part of the country," Speights

The Delta Caravan and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission mobile unit will help fill in the gaps of testing, especially in areas that do not have the resources to do COVID-19 testing.

Speights also broke down the difference in Antigen Testing from PCR Testing.

“The PCR test is good for screening events. The Antigen testing is good when we’re testing a sick individual. So both tests certainly have their place and both tests have their utility, and we should be using both tests," Speights

But, he says PCR testing could take up 6 to 8 hours at best to get results and is ideal for large population testing.

He says antigen tests are good for those with active symptoms and proves to be more accurate for those who are sick, getting those results in 10 to 15 mins.

“This is pretty rapid and I’ll say this if you think about it, think about the rapid flu test that you get when you go to your doctor’s office, that’s pretty much the same thing. The PCR test is a test that’s a little more invasive it’s the nasal swab. You’ve got to send it off to a lab, and it can take hours or days to get that result back generally speaking, and so those are the big differences," Speights

He says timing will for sure help with those who are feeling symptoms, getting those results back in a timely fashion can help stop the spread.

“The biggest hurdle was obviously getting the test kits and getting the machines and so now that that hurdle is passed we’re just excited to kind of move forward now with the actual logistics of it," Speights said.

When referring to logistics, Speights says the Arkansas Department of Health will be the one to coordinate when and where these mobile units will be going to provide these antigen tests.

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