Many doctors now use the rapid antigen test for COVID-19 because of how fast and inexpensive it is. However, many professionals have complained about its inaccuracy.
Elon Musk on Twitter shared his story about getting tested with the Rapid Antigen Test recently. He said, “Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive, He tweeted. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.”
Even the FDA didn’t favor it at first for a single test for active infection. But of recent, they’ve provided authorization for more accurate Rapid Antigen Tests. They did this because of how fast (get results 15 minutes or less), inexpensive, and less technology-intensive the Rapid Antigen Tests are compared to PCR tests.
How the Rapid Antigen Test Works?
First of all, you should understand that these Rapid Antigen tests identify protein fragments from the virus.
The healthcare providers swab the back of your nose or throat. Then the sample is mixed with a solution that tears open the virus and frees up the protein. And according to studies, the healthcare professionals add the mix to a paper strip that has antibodies built to latch on to the proteins and if they’re found, then the patient will be diagnosed positive. Doctors can identify whether a test is positive through a fluorescent glow or a dark band on the paper strip.
Antigen tests tell you who has high levels of the virus and the probability of you spreading it. This will let them know who to put in quarantine. According to Michael Mina, an infectious-disease immunologist at the Harvard T. H, he says, “If you’re at risk of transmitting the virus to somebody else, you’re going to have plenty of viral particles — those would certainly show up in antigen tests,”
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