RAPID COVID-19 ANTIGEN TEST EXPLAINED

What is DropTech COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test?

Every virus has a unique protein embedded in its DNA. This signature protein is known as antigen. DropTech is a SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) that identifies the specific antigen which lies on the surface of the coronavirus. This 15-minute test can identify individuals who are infectious with COVID-19 when virus levels in the sample swab are measurable. Moreover, DropTech tests do not have to be processed in a laboratory and are economical to produce. Rapid COVID antigen test explained in an easy to understand concept.

Antigen-based testing could help to rapidly identify people who, whether symptomatic or not, have high levels of the virus (those who are most likely to be infectious to others) and isolate them from the community. A positive COVID-19 rapid antigen detection test indicates to a patient with no symptoms that they must immediately self-isolate and reduces the opportunity for community transmission which is a major concern. In the situation where an individual tests positive through rapid antigen detection test, they should immediately be referred for a PCR test to confirm the positive result and to test close contacts of the individual.

COVID-19 antigen throat swab test

When is Rapid Antigen Detection Testing preferable to PCR Testing?

Rapid antigen test COVID-19

To date, Ireland’s governing bodies and health authorities have been using laboratory-processed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for identifying positive cases. But now they – along with worldwide counterparts – have identified Rapid COVID antigen test explained as RADT as an efficient alternative method in curbing the spread of COVID-19.  

Viral Load

Viral load peaks early in SARS-CoV-2 infections and then gradually declines, with tiny amounts of virus ribonucleic acid (RNA) staying in someone’s nose or throat for weeks or possibly months. And although there is not enough data to correlate different viral levels with how infectious people are, there is evidence that individuals are unlikely to spread the virus beyond eight to ten days after showing symptoms. As a result, people who test positive through the PCR method must self-isolate for 14 days. 

There are still many facts about COVID-19 that need to be learnt. These include – along with viral loads – the role of asymptomatic spread, viral shedding and various tests and their accuracy.

Limitations of PCR Testing

Although the PCR method can test whether an individual is infectious or not, it also labels an individual as “Positive” when they have the virus, but are unlikely to spread the virus. PCR testing is accurate and highly sensitive. However, the delay in testing and in receiving results may preclude clinical utility. In real life, a test result obtained within 15 minutes can be considered more useful because it takes infected individuals out of circulation instantly.  Numerous anecdotal reports of people socializing and engaging with others whilst waiting for their PCR results raise serious concerns. Furthermore, despite a lack of symptoms, some people can be “super spreaders”. They may unknowingly be highly infectious, even without symptoms. The threshold for testing and screening can be lower with a simple, fast, and sensitive (>90%) test kit.

An accurate reading requires a properly performed nasopharyngeal swab and should only be performed by professionals. Read the full Rapid Health Technology Assessment (HTA) of alternatives to laboratory-based real-time RT-PCR to diagnose current infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) here.

Rapid COVID Antigen Test Explained Guidance

SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests, like DropTech provide results in less than 15 minutes, they do not have to be processed in a laboratory and are economical to produce. Yet, that ease of use and rapid test speed comes with a cost in sensitivity. Whereas a typical PCR test can detect a single molecule of RNA in a sample, antigen tests need a sample to contain larger amounts of viral load to produce a positive result. So, if a person has low amounts of virus in their body, the test might give a false-negative result.