There are multiple ways to test the infection of coronavirus in the human body. Among all kinds of tests, the quickest one is the Antigen test, also known as a rapid test, because of its ability to provide quick rapid results.
Antigen tests aren’t new; they have been used commonly to diagnose respiratory pathogens, such as influenza, respiratory syncytial, and SARS-Cov-2 viruses. When Covid-19 was first identified to be a respiratory pathogen, Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for antigen tests to identify Covid-19 was instantly granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, the question people ask is why they should go for antigen test instead of PCR test, which is more accurate. Well, this article is going to clear out why exactly you would go for an antigen test and how it can help you identify your condition.
Antigen test has its name because it looks for a specific “viral antigen” that implies viral infection in the human body. To identify the coronavirus infection, health experts perform the antigen process, which is similar to PCR. Unlike PCR, where the nasal swab goes right up your nostril and reaches the point where your throat meets sinuses, cotton swabs in antigen test only stop at the beginning of your nostril and collect the nasal fluid specimens. These specimens are then placed directly into the lysis buffer that breaks open the cells and analyze the compound for the virus.
That being said, antigen tests are relatively less sensitive to detect SARS-Cov-2. Although antigen tests work almost always with other viruses, they are generally less effective with the coronavirus. That is because if the nasal swab is not reaching where the throat and sinuses are—the place where the virus potentially would reside if it was present—it becomes less likely to find the virus; that is what happens in antigen tests. In this case, PCR takes preference because it checks right into the place where the virus might reside. However, even PCR detects viral nucleic acids and not the virus itself. Nucleic acids found by PCR cannot be cultured, concluding that the presence of viral nucleic acid does not necessarily indicate contagiousness.
Officials recommend antigen tests in the earlier stages of the virus because that is the time where the virus attacks the whole body and can be found in different, easier places.
One advantage of antigen test is that it is authorized on people of all ages because it is not uncomfortable, unlike PCR. Another advantage of antigen test is that it is relatively inexpensive; doesn’t cost much; that is why people can acquire it every once in a while, to be sure. Where other Covid19 tests take more than 48 hours to release Covid report, antigen tests provide results within 15 minutes; that is why they are called “rapid test.”
If you haven’t had your antigen test in a while, get your appointment scheduled right now for a free 15-minute rapid Covid test.