Rapid Covid testing piloted in Roscommon

An Irish company has begun weekly rapid Covid-19 testing on an entire rural village in County Roscommon as part of a pilot programme which includes 12 other organisations including two secondary schools, Tallaght Hospital and a chauffeur firm.

The testing is being carried out by The Roqu Group, which is run by former IDA executive Robert Quirke, and results will be monitored by the HSE.

The test, which is said to have 97% accuracy, involves a nasal swab and a blood test for antibodies and provides results in 15 minutes.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One on Monday, Robert Quirke, chief executive of The Roqu Group, said the County Roscommon village was chosen because of “one very special person”.

He added that the testing was being used at Frankfurt, Rome and Dusseldorf Airports and had been rolled out to 60 countries. Mr. Quirke said the test would be available for less than €20.

Infectious diseases consultant, Professor Sam McConkey was quick to temper expectations however. Prof. McConkey told listeners that there was no guarantee that a test being used “here and there” actually works well.