What Is A Rapid Antigen Test?

The return to normalcy post-lockdown, as the remaining Covid restrictions were removed, one thing that has remained is our Covid-19 testing. From PCR tests to standard at-home rapid antigen tests, people were expected to check for infection for work, travel and several other things. As of 11th January 2022, the UK government abrogated the need of taking a PCR test to confirm a positive lateral flow and thus a Rapid Antigen Test was the only requirement.

What is a rapid Antigen Test

However, for those with little information about the tests, it can be hard to distinguish between the two and to understand what a Rapid Antigen Test is. This could, understandably, lead to many asking the question, “what is a rapid antigen test?”.

Studies found that for the best results, you should take two rapid antigen tests 24 to 36 hours apart continuously. Because there is such a need to use the tests, it is vital that people understand exactly what they are.

In this article, we will help you to understand what a rapid antigen test is, and what is used to make them work. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Covid-19, antigen tests and testing procedures.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Covid Tests?

Over the course of the Covid-19 crisis, the importance of reliable, accurate testing was proven to us and repeatedly became increasingly apparent. Whilst many assume that there is one set test for all home testing, the little known fact is that there are various different tests that can analyse whether or not you are infected in different ways.

One of the most popular and well-known types of tests is the rapid antigen test. A rapid antigen test, sometimes abbreviated to RAT, is a rapid diagnostic test that is suitable for detecting the presence of antigens in a human’s body. It uses the lateral flow method to distinguish Covid-19 antigens from that of the body’s natural antigens, using this information to determine whether or not the individual has been infected.

What is a Rapid Antigen Test

In people who did not have Covid-19, antigen tests correctly ruled out infection in 99.6% of people with symptoms and 99.7% of people without symptoms. Their accuracy and reliability is one of the primary reasons that they became the front-runners for Covid-19 testing at the beginning of the pandemic.

 The first Covid-19 tests, developed in Russia by the State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR, had the earliest traits of the more modern rapid antigen tests and their features. Production for these tests began on the 24th January, with the protocol for how to produce and manufacture them becoming available for other nations on the 28th January.

What is a Rapid Antigen Test

However, one of the biggest downfalls of the rapid antigen test is that it requires a clear and decisive acknowledgement of the presence of Covid-19 for a positive result to be created; rapid antigen tests require upwards of thousands of viral proteins per millilitre of solution in your nose or throat to test positive, which was later refined in development to make them more effective.

Besides rapid antigen tests, PCR tests largely dominated the later stages of lockdown and the pandemic as a whole. A PCR test, or a Polymerase Chain Reaction test, is a test that detects genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus, and uses the data it collects to determine whether or not an individual has been infected. The test can detect the presence of a virus both at the time of testing and if you had it at an earlier date, as antibodies and genetic material will still be leftover inside your body.

With studies suggesting that the sensitivity for PCR tests lay around 85% to 98%, they have been adopted as the main backup of rapid antigen tests to confirm whether or not someone has Covid-19. They were rolled out across the UK for those with suspected infections to use as a more accurate alternative to at home testing, with the samples being tested in controlled conditions within a laboratory.

Lastly, there are the lateral flow tests. At its core, a lateral flow test is the exact same thing as a rapid antigen test, just with different manufacturing protocols and parts. The kit cassette in both tests rapidly looks for antigens in your sample produced as a result of having the virus. The lateral flow just means the process that runs on the cassette itself as the sample and solution flow laterally along with the cassette.

What is a Rapid Antigen Test

Can All Covid-19 Tests Be Used For Travel?

Over 514,605,757 Covid-19 tests have been used in the UK during the pandemic, with countless more likely to have been used and unregistered. For some, these tests may have been used as a way of confirming their ability to travel abroad, as some countries have strict requirements regarding testing and travel.

What is a Rapid Antigen Test

Rapid antigen tests are normally accepted by the EU & UK, and can get you into countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. Although they can also help you to enter the USA, you must take your test with a member of staff to prove that you have not faked it and are in fact Covid-19 free. Because most are created by a government-listed provider with approved use by the EU they can be credible sources of information to prove to people that you are healthy to travel. The rapid antigen tests that you find online are normally very affordable and reliable for travelling abroad, helping to make the whole process smoother and more efficient.

Although slightly more expensive, PCR tests can also be taken and used as documentation to prove that you are Covid-19 free too. Unlike the rapid antigen tests, they are accepted by all major countries, and most registered providers can deliver your results by the next working day. They are also produced and provided by government-listed suppliers, which means that they can be used domestically for travel as well as internationally. Because a PCR test uses better technology and methods than that of a general rapid antigen test, it will typically cost slightly more to acquire. However, this allows you to gain access to all major travel destinations, which is definitely an attractive feature.

What is a Rapid Antigen Test

During lockdown, there was a 50% drop in domestic passenger traffic globally, whilst international traffic fell by 74%. As we ease out of lockdown and into the post-pandemic period, airlines and government agencies are bound to be on edge and desperate to prevent a new surge in cases. By using pre-flight Covid-19 tests or testing organisations, you can make your entrance to a country much easier and smoother to give you a more enjoyable experience in the future.

In essence, you can use a negative result from all major tests as proof that you are fit to fly. The best way to do this would be through an organisation such as Official Rapid Tests, who are able to offer comprehensive services to deliver your results to you quickly and with the best care possible. As well as the test, you’ll be able to log your results online to let you show them through your phone, streamlining your travelling experience and cutting down on the worry travellers may need to suffer.

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.

What is a Rapid Antigen Test

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.

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