- What is the antigen test?
- What does it consist of?
- Why is it performed?
- Preparation for the test
- What does the test feel like?
- Meaning of abnormal results
What is antigen testing?
The antigen test is a test to detect active infection. It identifies the presence of Covid-19 virus proteins within 15 minutes.
The test is performed quickly and is painless.
What is the test?
The antigen test consists of a nasopharyngeal swab sample. If the result is positive, it means that the patient is actively infected with the virus.
The antigen test, available in pharmacies, are sachets containing the test with a stick that must be introduced through the nose into the pharynx and then introduced into a container containing solvent. This liquid will be the sample to be administered in the test: it is squeezed so that the solution drips two or three times into the circular hole.
Antigen test for Covid-19 detection
The orifice absorbs by capillary action and mixes with a conjugate that flows through a coated membrane. The conjugate is a mixture of substances containing antibodies specific for the surface proteins of the virus. If the result is positive, two colored stripes are observed. If only one stripe appears, the control stripe, it is considered negative, but a possible infection is not ruled out, because it may be the first days with the virus and it has not yet developed.
Why is it performed?
Antigen tests are performed to detect if there is an active infection in the patient and, therefore, can infect. This test facilitates isolation measures.
Preparation for the test
No preparation is needed. However, if you feel unwell, have a headache, vomiting, fever or diarrhea, it is possible that it is caused by Covid-19 infection. In that case, it is advisable to have an antigen test at home and take the guesswork out of it.
What does the test feel like?
The test is painless, but uncomfortable. When the smear (stick) is introduced into the pharynx, it is common to feel a slight tingling or discomfort.
Meaning of abnormal results
It may happen that when performing the test, one of the stripes is very blurred. In this case, it is advisable to repeat the test again with another test, since it is either out of date or begins to detect the virus only slightly, i.e. the person has a very low viral load.
This type of test is performed in a rapid manner. However, PCR tests are more effective, although their results are usually delayed by 24 to 48 hours.
If you need to perform an antigen test, you can buy it online and choose the laboratory closest to you.