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Abbott ID NOW (POC-NAAT) - meet Portugal Testing Requirement?

It's not easy to find a test with results that can meet the 72 hour window that are not expensive.
Walgreens offers the ID Now with a 24 hour turnaround time. It is not a PCR test, but NEAR which is a type of NAAT test.

Does anyone know if this would be acceptable? I believe it meets the criteria, but I don't want to take chances. I've tried to contact the airline, but had no success.

Posted by
984 posts

I have no idea about the test you mention. But, I just returned to Portugal from the States and took an antigen test at O’hare before my flight that worked great. Results in 20 minutes and it was readily accepted. I do read a bit about the self administered tests not being sufficient.

And, they are all expensive! If you are choosing to come now, be ready to do all kinds of things regarding covid. Have you read the latest rules and mandates for Portugal? Negative tests are now required for hotels country wide - at least for now. It changes frequently so finding a good resource for up to the date info is highly recommended. Safe Communities Portugal is one of them. Portugal Resident and The Portugal News are both online news in English.

Posted by
241 posts

I did my PCR test to go to Italy in May at Walgreens and it was free. Don’t know if that is still the case, but I answered all the questions on their website I wasn’t charged anything. Got my results in 30 hours.

Posted by
2494 posts

Let's see what the government of Portugal has to say...

Website for Portugal's embassy in the US: https://washingtondc.embaixadaportugal.mne.gov.pt/en/

It includes the following statement:

To enter Portugal, both Portuguese and foreign nationals must present
a negative RT-PCR test, done 72 hours before departing to Portugal, or
a Rapid Antigen Test, made 24 hours before. Children under 12 years
old are not require a test to enter Portugal.

RT-PCR = Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction

So, you need a RT-PCR or a rapid antigen test

ID NOW is neither. It does NOT use reverse transcription technology. From the Abbott website:

ID NOW uses isothermal technology, proprietary enzymes and constant
temperature control to achieve the fastest available RNA
amplification. This proven molecular system greatly reduces the time
for results, allowing healthcare providers to make patient care
decisions sooner.

And it is a molecular test, not a rapid antigen test.

So, ID NOW does not technically meet the requirement of the government of Portugal, though I don't know that an immigration agent will know the difference.

However... no need to even think about ID NOW... all you need is a rapid antigen test 24 hours before departure (according to the current rules), which should be pretty stinking easy to obtain, perhaps even, as noted above, at the airport.

Posted by
22 posts

Looks like there's another website to reference.

Prior, I had looked at the US Embassy in Portugal
https://pt.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
Which states NAAT test.

And the Lisbon Airport Website
https://www.aeroportolisboa.pt/en/lis/passenger-guide/what-you-need-to-know/covid-19

I find this site helpful since it provides a link to which Antigen Tests are accepted.
That's one of the areas I'm having difficulty with is finding a provider that offers an Antigen Test that has been approved. I had heard that CVS in some states provided this, but in my area, they are not offering the Test.

Walgreens has stated that they can take up to 7 days for a RT-PCR test.
The airport offers a test but the cost is around $250 and I would need to make an appointment and travel there the day before I leave (I don't live close to the airport)

From the Lisbon airport website:

"Proof of testing for the screening of SARS-CoV-2, with a negative result for COVID-19:
- NAAT - Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (RT-PCR, NEAR, TMA, LAMP, HDA, CRISPR, SDA, etc), performed within 72 hours prior to the time of departure;
OR
- An antigen test (TRAg) performed within 48 hours prior to the time of departure (Only antigen tests acceptable by the European Union Health Committee are accepted for travel as well as the minimum data that must be present on the test result document as set by the same entity, see here)."

I'm hoping the information that the airport provided is accurate, since that would make is easier to get a test locally and one that can provide results in the time frame I need.

Here is my experience on September 5th - I was worried that the Abbott ID NOW test would be disallowed.

I ended up getting a Rapid Antigen test and did a lot of research to find that the Quidel Sofia FIA test that was one of 3 options offered by a nearby testing service. I stopped by the test site before getting the test to insure that this was the test they would be using. When I got my test result back, it showed the use of the CareStart test which did NOT appear to qualify according to EU standards and the EU list.

I was concerned that it would be checked by TAP Air Portugal when I checked in on September 6th and I was prepared to get another test at a cost of $200 or so, this time a RT-PCR at San Francisco airport if need be and I was able to succeed in getting the test in a short time window between when they checked my docs and the check-in cutoff time.

I was also prepared to abort the trip at the airport if I had to.

Turns out that TAP did not closely check the details of my Rapid Antigen test and issued my boarding pass without question.

I was still a little concerned that on arrival in Lisbon that it would be checked there for conformance and then I might need to get another test at the Lisbon airport but at least I would be there and they were unlikely to turn me around.

Customs in Lisbon glanced at the document but did not even take a close look at it. I was not given a temperature check or anything like that. No problem getting through customs.

I had closely timed my 48 hour test so that it would also cover me for hotel check-in in LIsbon with about 3 hours of tolerance. The hotel said that I could either show proof of vaccine (which I had) and so they did not even look at my Covid test report.

Based on my experience, I suspect that the Abbott ID Now test would work fine even though that is not the test I ended up getting.

Your results may vary. I stressed out a lot about which test and it turned out not to make much if any difference so long as you are within the 48 or 24 hour window depending on whether it was a Rapid Antigen or a NAAT test.

Hope this helps someone else. Good travels!