Respiratory infections such as influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial viruses are often diagnosed via antigen assays. The rapid antigen test kits have been approved by the UK Government for travel testing requirements. Further, the FDA has also authorized the use of antigen testing to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 in an emergency. These tests look for the presence of an antigen from a particular virus, indicating that the patient is infected with the virus at the time of testing. There is presently no restriction on the use of antigen tests done on nasal swab specimens put directly into the extraction buffer or reagent of the assay; however, this may change in the future. Point-of-care, laboratory-based, as well as self-administered antigen testing, are now allowed and may be used by persons of all ages.
What is antigen testing for SARS-CoV-2?
Antigen testing may be employed at the point-of-care level since they are low-cost and readily available. The majority of presently approved tests have a turnaround time of 15–30 minutes. If you are looking for a more sensitive way to identify viral nucleic acid, consider using antigen assays for SARS-CoV-2 rather than real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (also called the RT-PCR) or other nucleic acid amplification tests.
Moreover, rapid antigen tests here used for screening, appropriate clinical care of patients or persons with suspected COVID-19, or identification of infected people, requires proper interpretation of both antigen test findings and NAATs. Diagnostic tests’ clinical performance is heavily influenced by the conditions in which they are employed. Antigen testing, as well as NAATs, work best when administered to a subject at the height of their viral load. Antigen tests are usually utilized on patients who are symptomatic since they work best in those who are already experiencing symptoms and within a particular number of days following the beginning of those symptoms. The results of antigen tests may also be helpful in diagnosing a person with COVID-19 if the individual has been exposed to the virus before. To assist guide the use of these screening tests in asymptomatic persons to identify or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection, data on the performance of antigen testing in various settings have been gathered throughout time.
On which day of the week should I take the rapid antigen for travel?
Before flying into another country from any destination, regardless of vaccination status, you must have a COVID-19 viral test; especially when you are going to the United States. Before you may board your aircraft, you must provide the airline with your negative test result. If you can demonstrate documentation of being completely vaccinated against COVID-19, the rapid antigen test may be performed on a sample collected no more than three days before leaving from the foreign country. While, if you do not have documentation of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the rapid antigen test must be done on a sample collected no more than one day before leaving from the foreign nation.
How to perform the test correctly?
The process to Register and Perform the rapid antigen test is as follows:
1 – SELECT THE TYPE OF ANTIGEN TEST (DAY 2/FIT TO FLY) :
Use the link provided to register and please fill in the details to continue.
2. PERFORMING THE TEST :
Before performing the test, please take a photo of the blank test strip.
a. Open the buffer tube and insert it into the box to hold it upright. Lay your test strip on a flat surface.
b. Take the sterile swab and insert it into your nose 2-3 cm deep and rotate 5 times. Repeat the same in the other nostril.
c. Now take the swab and insert it into the buffer tube with the liquid solution and swirl for 30 seconds.
d. Insert the tip onto the buffer tube and squeeze 3-4 drops on the test strip.
Once the test is performed, you will be able to see the results on the test strip within 15 minutes. Please make sure to take a photo of the test strip with the red line.
3. VERIFYING YOUR TEST –
When you see the results on the test strip, take a photo of your passport/ travel document as well as the test strip and submit it.
The results are then verified by a team within a span of 15 minutes to a few hours (if the test is done correctly) and the customer receives an email.
The test can be verified conveniently through the images of the testing strip and hence, the test results need not be sent by post to a lab.
Are you looking for a testing provider?
Harley Medic International is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.