Is A Rapid Antigen Test A Lateral Flow Test?
The Covid-19 pandemic introduced a range of new technology and equipment to our NHS services, most of which was highly effective in preventing the spread of the disease and saving lives across the nation. From vaccines to masks, we utilised a number of things with ground-breaking results all through the period.
One of the most effective pieces of equipment we used was the lateral flow test; quick and easy to use, it helped us to know whether we were infected in a matter of minutes. These tests were one of the most crucial tools in aiding us to end lockdown and limit the spread as safely as possible.
However, not many people know for certain what the lateral flow test is, or anything about it for that matter. This has led to questions such as “is a rapid antigen test a lateral flow test?” arising online from consumers who are concerned or curious with the device.
In this article, we will address whether a rapid antigen test is a lateral flow test and what distinctive features they may have. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Covid-19, testing kits and lateral flow tests.
Rapid Antigen Tests vs Lateral Flow Tests
So many people across the country got accustomed to using various different types of testing kits during the peak of Covid-19 - whether it was for work, school or general health, they could be found in every household in heaps and mounds. But, even with its popularity, not much was known about the testing kits at the time by the general public, with many blindly using the kits and running the risk of making them ineffective.
Simply stated, there is no difference between a rapid antigen test and a lateral flow test. This is because the rapid antigen tests use the lateral flow technology to become effective, meaning that in a sense they are both made to work the same way. The effectiveness of this method helped us to achieve over 514,605,757 successful tests using these testing kits, making them one of the primary reasons for our successful coverage and weathering of the Covid-19 storm whilst in lockdown and whilst easing out of it.
However, whilst rapid antigen tests and lateral flow tests are the same, a PCR test is not. A PCR test, or a Polymerase Chain Reaction test, is a test used to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus. These were implemented as an option for many to get 100% confirmation of whether or not they are suffering from Covid-19 or another ailment that can then be addressed. The test works by detecting the presence of a virus if you are infected at the time of the text, and it can help to suggest if you have had the virus beforehand as well. Unlike lateral flow and antigen tests, the results are analysed in a lab, rather than in the comfort of your own home.
Research shows that the United Kingdom alone had over 19.9 million positive cases of Covid-19, with 175,000 deaths to accompany. As a result of our effective and widely-used tests, we were able to reduce the deaths in comparison to countries such as America, where they faced 95 million cases with 1.05 million deaths to follow.
How Does A Covid-19 Self-Test Kit Work?
Covid-19 tests can be used for a range of things - from helping with flight confirmations to showing your eligibility to return to work, there are a lot of below-the-surface uses for one of the most popular household items for the past few years.
Self-test kits, also known as at-home kits, are usually antigen tests that can be taken anywhere independently, eliminating the need for you to put others at risk and leave the house. They work by detecting the proteins found in the Covid-19 virus and determining whether it is in your body from that information. This is because the presence of antigens normally triggers an immune response by the body, which can be monitored and identified by the test.
Because they work by utilising innovative and modern chemical science, at-home testing kits have a very high accuracy rate. Research has found that tests are over 99% effective and pick up positive results at early and late stages of infection.
The self-test kits can be used for a range of different things, more recently to confirm you are fit to travel. We found that Covid-19 rapid antigen tests are accepted by the EU and UK, provide results within 15 minutes and are popular in most modern countries. By using these at-home tests, you can confirm flight availability, your eligibility to travel and your personal safety to foreign countries who may not otherwise allow you access. Our research has concluded that over 150,000 travellers have used at-home testing kits for travel abroad, making it one of the most desired and effective ways of getting away during Covid.
How Does A Covid-19 PCR Test Work?
Nose-swab PCR tests for Covid-19 are an accurate and reliable test for diagnosing whether or not a patient is infected with the virus. Becoming more popular towards the end of the pandemic, PCR tests are still used today as a way to be certain of whether or not a patient has Covid-19 with 100% accuracy.
The PCR test detects genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus like Covid-19, and uses the detection to determine whether or not someone is infected. The presence of matter that typically comes from the Covid-19 virus can be a significantly telling indicator of whether or not someone currently has or has had Covid-19 in the past few days, which makes it much easier to assign the correct treatment and care.
The test can also use antibodies that are created when someone first catches Covid-19 to find out whether or not there is an infection, as they are produced to defend against the virus, meaning that in order to have them someone must have already been infected.
The standard RT-PCR tests used for the UK’s Covid-19 testing programme has been verified by PHE, and show over 95% sensitivity and specificity. This means that under laboratory conditions, these RT-PCR tests should never show more than 5% false positives or 5% false negatives. Because of their high effectiveness, they have become the frontline for businesses and individuals who want to ensure that they and their loved ones are Covid-19 free.
However, there are many complications that make it difficult for countries to get a hold of PCR tests. Making sure that the chemicals and materials needed to produce the tests are present and mixed correctly is a vital and laborious task that can often delay the production of the tests - and to make matters worse, each brand of test has their own unique blend of about 20 chemicals, with each set requiring its own packaging, parts and resources.
Typically, the easier a test is to perform, the harder it is to make. When Covid-19 tests were first introduced, they could take as long as 4 hours to manufacture, with two hours of specialist hands-on work and two hours of machine implementation. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, specialist oversight was needed by doctors, chemists and biologists to make sure that the chemicals going into each test were correctly mixed and appropriate for the relevant test. This made it much harder for antigen tests to be used, but also helped to make PCR tests become the more attractive choice amongst many.
Do You Need An Emergency Covid Test?
If you believe that you may be suffering from Covid-19 and would like clarity so that you can seek treatment, it’s always best to take a test as soon as possible. Our specialist team is on hand around the clock to provide quality care and services to help get Covid-19 tests to you so that you can start the road to recovery earlier. With our innovative new services and products, we are able to provide you with a unique and speedy service that will help redefine the meaning of ‘customer service’ forever.
Our mission is always to reinvent the modern way of taking and receiving Covid-19 tests and provide a service which is reflective of modern-day issues and solutions. We have always been proud to be able to say that our service has catered to 15,000 travellers to date, with many more expected to come in the following years.
For more information on how to reach us and order your tests today, you can contact Official Rapid Tests using our online form for the quickest responses and swift support from members of our team. Alternatively, you may choose to book an appointment for consultation either in person or over the phone to discuss your options and what may suit you best. Whatever you choose to do, we have no doubt that you’ll find what you’re looking for with us.