Sun, Apr 21, 2024

Rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 are now widely available in grocery stores and drugstores, allowing for at-home testing in as little as 15 minutes.

The turnaround time is significantly shorter than the conventional PCR tests most of us are used to. Learn how to maximise the usefulness of this rapid antigen test price for the best possible outcome.

What exactly is a rapid antigen test?

Proteins from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that triggers COVID-19, can be detected with a rapid antigen test. At-home set via nose swab or saliva set is possible.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which most of us are probably already familiar with, is different. It is able to identify viral DNA. 

Samples for PCR are collected by medical professionals and processed by laboratory scientists. Any qualified person, no matter where they are, can perform a rapid antigen test. Unlike PCR, the results of these tests can be obtained in as little as 15 minutes.

However, the accuracy of PCR tests far surpasses that of rapid antigen tests. Either the test will come back negative when you actually do have COVID-19, or it will come back positive when you actually don’t.

However, rapid antigen tests are most reliable if performed within seven days of a possible exposure or when clinical signs are present.

What’s the point of using one?

If you need to know whether or not you have COVID-19 speedily, rapid antigen tests are a good option. For example, you may be concerned about the safety of your elderly and frail relatives who will be attending a family reunion.

If you suspect you have COVID-19 but don’t have access to a PCR test right away, a rapid antigen test may be an option.

How should the test be conducted?

The directions for a test are included. To get a reliable result, you must strictly adhere to the specified procedure.

A snippet of nasal secretions or saliva, as appropriate for the test, will be collected and placed in a chemical solution.

The sample is dissolved in a chemical solution, and then placed on an indicator device, much like a pregnancy test. A visible shift in hue indicates a promising outcome.

Here are 7 ways to ensure a reliable outcome

Take into account the following:

Verify the expiration date. Don’t use an out-of-date test.

For optimal results, let some tests warm up to room temperature for 30 minutes. Therefore, prepare in advance.

Before taking a sample with a nasal swab, blow out your nose. Don’t eat or drink anything within 10 minutes of taking a saliva sample.

It’s important to keep the sample clean. Instructions for any given test may require that you prepare a clean, smooth surface, rinse or sanitise your hands, and dry them. The soft end of the swab that would go in your nose should never be touched, as this could spread germs.

Be sure to collect samples exactly as directed. If you’re using a nasal swab, for instance, you’ll need to insert it 2 centimetres, rotate it five times, and repeat the process in both nostrils. The sample is then placed in the chemical mixture.

Drop a predetermined amount of the solution onto the measuring tool. Put in no extra effort “for godspeed.”

You should check the results at the time specified. The directions may state, for instance, that you should check the result 15 to 20 minutes after adding the solution to the mixture. There is a chance that the result is inaccurate after 20 minutes.

What will happen next?

If you don’t experience any symptoms and your test comes back negative, you’re in the clear! Take a PCR test if you get a negative result but still have signs. In the meantime, isolate yourself as much as possible.

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