Are you planning to get a COVID test?
Whether you think you’ve been exposed to the virus or you need screening for travel or work, it’s essential to get the right test. This helps to guarantee accurate results and slow the spread of Covid-19. And, it could save you time and money, depending on which type of test you require.
In this article, we’ll break down the difference between rapid covid tests and help you decide which is right for you. We’ll also help you understand how these differ from lab-based COVID testing, commonly known as the PCR (polymerase chain reaction). Read on for all the details!
Rapid COVID Tests Explained
If you need a rapid Covid-19 test, you will find two major types to choose between – antigen and antibody. And, which is right for you will depend on your personal circumstances, and what you’re hoping to achieve with your COVID testing.
No matter which test type is right for you, it’s essential that you shop smart. While plenty of online retailers are now advertising rapid covid test kits for sale, not all are created equally.
Choose a highly reputable supplier with plenty of experience in the field, good online reviews, and history in the business that predates Covid-19.
Rapid Antibody Tests
When you are infected with a virus for the first time, your body’s immune system triggers the production of antibodies specific to that virus. These antibodies attach to the virus, allowing your body’s powerful disease-fighting systems to locate and destroy its cells.
However, producing antibodies and building up enough of them to reach a testable level takes time. In many cases, this level will only be achieved once the virus has already run its course.
So, this type of testing is ideal for learning whether or not you have been previously infected with Covid-19.
For COVID, antibody testing is performed by taking a small sample of blood using a lancet. Like the finger prick used by people with diabetes to check their blood sugar, this rapid COVID test type requires just a single drop.
Once your sample is collected, it is mixed with a buffering solution inside the included testing cassette. Results are available within ten minutes.
Rapid Antigen Tests
Unlike an antibody test, this type of screening can detect an active case of COVID. To achieve this, it looks for specialized molecules found on the surface of the virus that would not normally be present in your blood.
If you are planning to travel, return to the workplace, or come in contact with new people, this test can tell you who is currently sick and who is not. And it relies on a nasal swab rather than a blood sample.
To use an antigen COVID rapid test kit, you’ll need to use the provided nasal swab to collect a sample from within your sinus. Then, add it to a solution packed with specific viral proteins.
This combination will be applied to a test strip that comes pre-loaded with an antibody optimized to bind these viral proteins to Covid-19 cells if they are present in your body. Much like a pregnancy test, the result is displayed as a band running across your test strip.
Just like with an antibody test, you can expect results within minutes.
Unlike these convenient point of care tests, PCR testing must be performed by a professional and sent off to a lab for analysis. Results could be available within minutes or days, depending on where you live and how accessible PCR testing equipment is in your area.
This type of testing is highly accurate as it uses your body’s DNA and viral DNA to search for links, indicating the presence of Covid-19. But, because of the testing requirements, PCR testing is typically far more expensive.
And, unlike rapid testing, this type of test will not provide onsite results in 10 minutes and will require a healthcare professional to administer.
Slow the Spread
Before you run out and buy a rapid COVID test, it’s essential to make sure that you’re making the right decision to help slow the virus’s spread.
And, whether you’ve been previously infected, are currently sick, or have not yet been exposed, it’s essential to follow CDC and WHO guidelines to reduce your risks for contamination. This includes wearing a mask in public, washing your hands with soap and water frequently, or substituting an antibacterial gel made from at least 70% alcohol. You should also continue social distancing.
Remember, if you are trying to verify whether you have been previously infected and the virus has already run its course, you should choose an antibody test. And, if you are trying to establish whether or not you may currently have the Coronavirus, opt for an antigen test. If your primary focus is on accurate results and you don’t mind performing your test away from home, go with the PCR.
Now that you’re familiar with the different options for rapid covid tests, you’re ready to take the next step. Fast, accurate and affordable results are within reach!
Do you still have a few questions about the different testing types or how to order your test kit? Contact us or call 321-206-0302 for help with your COVID testing needs.
And, while you’re here, check out some of our other testing supplies. We offer everything you need for home medical testing, drug screening, and more!