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Are antigen tests toxic?

Antigen tests have made their way into many homes since start of pandemic after some governments pushed kits on their populations despite health guidelines

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Yudi Sherman

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Yudi Sherman

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Shining a spotlight on media and government disinformation.

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March 02, 2022

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01:07 PM

Are antigen tests toxic?

A piece published in The Epoch Times last week revealed that poison control centers are warning about a toxin included in COVID-19 rapid antigen tests. 

According to the report, the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center says that the at-home test kits may include a toxic chemical known as sodium azide.

“It is important to know that the extraction vial in many rapid antigen kits includes the chemical sodium azide as a preservative agent,” the center said. “The BinaxNow, BD Veritor, Flowflex, and Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 rapid antigen kits all contain this chemical.” 

Sodium azide is a colorless, odorless powder in which the cotton swabs are dipped. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sodium azide can cause a host of side effects, depending on the level of exposure. 

Someone who breathes a small amount of sodium azide – or even absorbs it through their skin – can experience rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting, and other side effects. Exposure to larger amounts can be fatal. 

Antigen tests have made their way into many homes since the start of the pandemic after some governments pushed the kits on their populations, despite health guidelines. 

Israel’s government, for instance, mandated in January that all children must undergo antigen testing twice a week, despite a letter from the Ministry of Health advising otherwise. 

In the letter, issued in September 2020, to the administrators of the country’s major hospitals, the Health Ministry advised that rapid antigen tests be used strictly for symptomatic COVID-19 patients. 

“In light of these data, it is recommended that rapid results testing be used for symptomatic patients only,” read the letter. 

Antigen test manufacturers seem to agree. 

The Sofia Sars rapid antigen test’s advisory insert says that the test is authorized for "individuals who are suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider within the first five days of the onset of symptoms," and not for an asymptomatic person. 

Yet the Sofia Sars antigen test has become the Israeli government’s rapid test of choice for children and adults alike, especially in nursing homes. 

“Today we're installing this rapid test in nursing homes across Israel, the 'Sofia' test, which is a 15-minute test,” said then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported by Arutz Sheva. “It can help us in domestic aviation, in hotels, and in many other areas - in hospitals and clinics.” 

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