How is a Rapid Antigen Test Helpful in Detecting COVID-19 Infection?

How is a Rapid Antigen Test Helpful in Detecting COVID-19 Infection?

Bajaj Finserv Health
November 17, 20214 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Rapid antigen detection test and RT-PCR are vital COVID tests
  • An antigen test checks for the presence of viral antigens in body
  • A rapid antigen test report may indicate if you are COVID positive

COVID-19 has cost the lives of a large number of people globally. With the steady increase in testing and diagnosis, we are able to keep a check on the spread of the virus. Thanks to the vigorous vaccination programs, there seems to be a sharp decline in the number of active cases. Different testing methods have been instrumental in helping scientists understand more about the virus. This has aided in the development of vaccines as well.

While new COVID tests have been developed for detecting the virus, rapid antigen test and RT-PCR test were the first ones used to diagnose the presence of infection. The RT-PCR test normally checks for the presence of genetic material of the virus. It can also be used to detect viral fragments even if you are not infected. The RT-PCR test is considered as the gold standard test for diagnosing COVID-19 infection.

A rapid antigen test helps to determine if you have contracted the infection or not. This test aims to detect the presence of viral antigens in your body. These antigens are protein markers present on the surface of a SARS-CoV-2 virus. To know more about the rapid antigen test meaning, read on.

Additional read: How does Coronavirus Spread? Read about COVID-19 Transmission

What is a rapid antigen test?

It is a screening test to check if you have been infected with the COVID-19 virus. It helps to determine infection in those individuals who are asymptomatic. You can go for a rapid antigen test as it is cost-effective and saves your time. This rapid test also helps to restrict the spread of the virus. However, there is a high chance of getting false positive or false negative results with this test. That’s why doing an RT-PCR for final confirmation is recommended.

How is the conducted?

If you are looking for a quick COVID-19 diagnosis test, rapid antigen analysis is the most suitable option for you. If your doctor has prescribed the test, you can buy antigen test kits from pharmacies. Then you can comfortably check whether you are positive or negative from the comfort of your home.

The sample needed for COVID tests is your nasal or throat swab. In case of an RT-PCR test, it is sent to a lab for processing. In a rapid antigen test, you can get results within 15 minutes. This kind of procedure is also called the point-of-care testing. These test kits, which provide rapid results, can be used only once. Moreover, the rapid antigen test cost is less when compared to other COVID-19 tests like RT-PCR. However, the cost depends on where the test is being conducted.

rapid antigen test facts

What precautions should be taken?

While there are not many precautions you may need to follow, it is essential to inform if you are facing any COVID-19 symptoms before you take this test. This is extremely important to ensure the sample collector remains alert during the procedure. While taking the test at home, make sure to disinfect your hands and the surface properly. This test can be completed within a minute with samples collected from both your nostrils.

When should you get tested for a rapid antigen test?

Here are a few conditions where you may need to undergo COVID-19 screening test.

  • If you have been in close contact with an infected person
  • If you require a COVID negative result for official purposes or travelling
  • If you have visited large social gatherings where there is a higher risk of infection

What do antigen test results signify?

A rapid antigen test report indicates if your sample is positive or negative for SARS-CoV-2 antigens. If your sample is positive, you need to isolate yourself and take necessary precautions. A negative result despite having COVID-19 symptoms may require you to undergo an RT-PCR test for reconfirmation. Your doctor may advice you whether it is required or not.

Additional read: Detect and Diagnose COVID-19 with an Efficient RT-PCR Test

Though antigen tests confirm the presence of coronavirus, it is ideal to go for an RT-PCR if you observe COVID-19 symptoms. Some of the usual signs to note are persistent fever, body aches and throat problems. All you need to do is search for a rapid antigen test near me and get yourself checked. You can book your COVID-19 test and other lab tests on Bajaj Finserv Health.. Be proactive and take necessary precautions to keep yourself and your loved one safe from coronavirus.

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Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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