How Do I Use A COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test?
As our search for a new normal continues in the face of new variants, the demand for more accessible, convenient, and faster diagnostics keeps growing. Especially with the circulation of more transmissible variants like Omicron, more people than ever need convenient, frequent, and consistent testing in their daily lives. Hence, the development of COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests – as also known as antigen rapid tests (ART), rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) or rapid test kits (RTK) – was welcome news for many people. Quick and simple to administer, these tests are what you need for returning to all the activities that you have been missing throughout the pandemic. Whether it be a long-postponed family picnic, the most important business meeting, your dream vacation in Chile, or your son’s graduation ceremony, these tests are exactly what you are looking for. What’s more, you can take one anytime or anywhere you need, and get your results in minutes. Still, questions remain about how COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests function, how they should be performed and how accurate they really are. It is certainly important to get familiar with these tests to ensure maximum safety and accuracy before making the decision to attend that big meeting, visit your grandparents, or see the new movie that you have been waiting for. Here’s what to know about COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests.
What is a COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test?
COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests detect the proteins on the surface (Spike) or on the nucleocapsid of SARS-CoV-2 that elicit an immune response in your body. As these tests detect SARS-CoV-2 antigens, they primarily detect active infections with the virus. Thus, the results of COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests cannot provide information on a prior COVID-19 infection or your antibody levels. Many experts agree that these tests are incredibly effective in detecting infectious levels of viral load. Taken in the right time and in accordance with the instructions, COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests may protect you and your loved ones by breaking transmission chains.
Moreover, unlike a PCR test, antigen self-tests can provide results in real time in the comfort of your own home, office, school, and anywhere you may need. In any scenario, these tests deliver results in 15 to 20 minutes, allowing you to immediately self-isolate, inform your contacts, and access to treatment.
As they are deliberately designed for self-administration, these tests make storage, sample collection, and interpretation easy for everyone. These tests typically utilize user-friendly utensils and simple to collect specimen such as nasal or throat swabs. Altogether, they generally offer safe and simple administration. Still, it is crucial to follow the guidelines regarding storage and administration to get the most of your test.
How To Use a COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test?
Instructions concerning storage and administration is provided with the kit. The guidelines may vary from test to test.
First, it is important to perform the test with clean hands and to place all the components of the test on a clean surface. This will reduce the risk for cross contamination.
These tests typically contain a test strip, a sample collection swab, extraction buffer, and extraction tube. If you notice missing or damaged components, do not use the kit.
Read the instructions carefully. These tests typically require you to gently swab the nostrils or throat for a few seconds, insert the swab into the tube filled with extraction buffer, and transfer a few drops of this liquid to the given area in the test strip. After this step, the results should be ready in 15 to 20 minutes.
To get the most accurate results, store the kit under the conditions specified in the instructions, follow the steps carefully, and only read the results in the interval given in the instructions.
When Should I Use a COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test?
Many experts agree that rapid antigen tests offer a snapshot of your current infection status. As this may quickly change, it is recommended to take your test right before the event that you have been planning to attend. However, experts suggest that if you want to check your infection status after an event, taking your test immediately after can limit the sensitivity of your results due to low viral loads. Instead, although these parameters may change depending on the test, research shows that single antigen tests, are typically most accurate when taken within 5-7 days after symptoms begin showing which corresponds to the peak of the viral load. If you don’t have symptoms, routine testing by taking the tests two to three times over a week has been proven to significantly improve test sensitivity. Recent research demonstrates that routine antigen testing is as accurate as a PCR test in detecting an active infection with SARS-CoV-2.
Altogether, if you want are planning to have contact with people at high risk, if you want to quickly check your infection status before or after an event, or if you experience symptoms but can’t get to a PCR testing site, taking 15 to 20 minutes to perform a COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test may help protect you and your loved ones.
What are the benefits of COVID-19 Antigen Self-Tests?
As frequent, consistent, and convenient COVID-19 testing becomes a personal need for many, COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests give people the chance to monitor their infection status within their daily lives. They enable people to test themselves whenever, wherever, and as often as the need arises. Whether you are planning to visit loved ones at high risk of severe disease, you want to check yourself after an indoor event or activity, or whether you work in an environment that requires you to consistently monitor yourself, COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests have much to offer you.
Moreover, by providing results in minutes, these tests ensure immediate self-isolation and access to treatment. On one hand, by breaking transmission chains, they help curb the spread of COVID-19. On the other hand, they also help reduce the burden on healthcare professionals and institutions. Especially in remote, underdeveloped, or resource-limited areas where PCR testing may not be available, COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests are incredibly effective tools. Altogether, they are not only highly convenient tools for our daily lives within the course of the pandemic, but they also help curb the spread of the virus and create wider and more equal access to diagnostics worldwide.
In conclusion, COVID-19 Antigen Self Tests answer to the evolving and growing demands for frequent, consistent, and convenient testing against COVID-19. Taken at the right time and in accordance with the instructions, these tests can help you live your life without putting yourself or others at risk.
With our RapidFor™ Rapid Antigen Test Kit (Self-Test), you can enter the advantageous world of home-comfort testing. Go to product, be a part.
- Porte, L., Legarraga, P., Vollrath, V., Aguilera, X., Munita, J. M., Araos, R., Pizarro, G., Vial, P., Iruretagoyena, M., Dittrich, S., & Weitzel, T. (2020). Evaluation of a novel antigen-based rapid detection test for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 99, 328–333. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.05.098