What is a Rapid COVID-19 Test?

As scientists and medical researchers continue to study the COVID-19 virus, they’ve been able to make significant progress in testing and detection. Recently, a rapid COVID test has been developed to increase efficiency in diagnosing and controlling the spread of the illness. Here’s everything you need to know about rapid COVID-19 testing.

Why Is There a Rapid COVID-19 Test?

As the need for testing has continued to grow globally, developing a rapid test has been a priority. Doing so would help speed up the time it takes between testing and diagnosis, which would further reduce the time before a patient would receive treatment of their symptoms. Getting treatment faster is crucial in limiting the severity of the case and reducing deaths.

What is the Rapid Test?

Like nasal and saliva COVID tests, the rapid test identifies the presence of the new coronavirus in a patient. Keep in mind that the rapid test does not test for coronavirus antibodies. In other words, it will not indicate whether the patient being tested has had the virus before. This test also does not test for any other virus, like rhinovirus or influenza.

The test is best used early on in suspected cases since it picks up on actively replicating antigens. Reported accuracy is at the same level, or higher, of established standard COVID-19 tests.

How Does it Work?

If you are experiencing symptoms and would like to get tested, you would first contact your local urgent care center or primary care provider and arrange for an appointment or use the walk-in services if available.

The test will be administered by a medical professional. With a long swab, they will take a sample from the back of your throat or nose. If the virus is present in the sample, antigens will bind to an antibody-laden strip of paper. There will be a visible change, usually within half an hour, that will indicate a positive test result. No change means a negative result.

You will be notified of your test results on the same day. Most standard tests take 3-5 days, which severely impacts the speed of treatment and recovery.

Is It Expensive?

The cost of the COVID-19 will vary depending on your chosen provider. However, the overall cost of the rapid COVID-19 test kit is getting lower and lower every day. Plus, they’re several times cheaper than the standard tests that take much longer.

If you’re experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, call your local urgent care center to see if rapid testing is right for you.