Recommendations and errors for the use of rapid antigen tests.

Rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 infection at home can be purchased online and at online shopping sites. People buy them actively – mostly for their peace of mind to test. Experts say that such tests are not as accurate as laboratory tests, but in the case of symptoms of respiratory disease, it can help to determine more quickly whether the disease is caused by Covid-19. However, it should be borne in mind that performing these tests incorrectly can significantly reduce the accuracy of the antigen test results.

The accuracy of rapid antigen tests is higher if a person has any symptoms of a respiratory disease – runny nose or cough. The test is able to determine the incidence from 2 days before the onset of symptoms to 5 days from the onset of symptoms. These express tests show the result within 15 to 20 minutes, much depending on how and correctly the sample required for analysis has been collected.

When buying quick tests, the first thing to look out for is whether they have the correct instructions for use in the national language. Different types of rapid antigen tests are available, depending on the type of test sampling. And saliva tests. Or those with which the sample is obtained from the nose, nostrils, throat. The details and instructions may be different for each rapid antigen test. Therefore, it is important to read the instructions for use very carefully and perform the test scrupulously according to the given instructions.

Recommendations for the use of the rapid antigen test:
• Check the expiration date of the antigen test – do not use after the expiration date.
• Check that the test package is not damaged – the test must be performed within 30 minutes of opening the package.
• Store the test at the temperature specified in the instructions. Perform the test indoors at room temperature – the installation will indicate the allowable humidity. Also, do not do this in areas where eating, drinking or smoking occurs. Wash your hands before use.
• Make sure that the package contains all the components needed for the test – usually four – a test cassette, extraction buffer, a swab (for nasal or throat swabs) or a saliva collection container and a tube or bag.
• The optimal time to take a saliva sample or strip for collection is in the morning before brushing your teeth, eating or drinking.
• Perform the test steps in the exact order and time interval as instructed.
• Read the test result exactly within the time interval specified in the instructions.

Both medical professionals and test instructions indicate errors that may be made by the tester, which may result in incorrect test readings.

Possible errors in the rapid antigen test:
• The test is performed on the sixth day of symptoms or later – the amount of the virus in the body has decreased, the antigen test can no longer detect its presence.
• A rapid antigen test is performed every day – it is expensive, inefficient and self-worrying every day. It is proportionate and most accurate to do this in the first days of cold symptoms.
• The test is performed outdoors in cold or rainy conditions.
• The test is performed one hour after saliva or smear collection. The amount of virus in the sample has decreased – the test should be performed immediately after sample collection.
• The test is not performed with the sterile swab provided in the test kit.
• The test result is read after 10 minutes without waiting for the 15-20 minute interval specified in the instructions.
• When the test is moved, the package has cracked and will not work properly due to exposure to air humidity.
• The Covid-14 rapid antigen test may be positive in some cases if the subject is ill with influenza or a similar virus.

It should be noted that if a person has any symptoms, even if it is not a coronavirus, it is advisable not to go anywhere, as other viruses are also active and should not be passed on. A positive or negative test result does not rule out the presence of other infections, for which you should consult your doctor.

The various Covid-19 tests have been in circulation for a longer period of time and manufacturers are releasing increasingly accurate antigen tests, so viral test readings should become even more accurate over time. Specialists cannot give a firm guarantee of the accuracy of a rapid antigen test. However, if a person has any suspicion of the disease, a test by medical staff should be performed.

GP Nord Ltd
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Kurzemes prospekts 23, Rīga, LV-1067, Latvija