The Benefits of a Rapid Antigen Test

Rapid Antigen Test

Even though tests to detect the coronavirus disease are being developed and distributed at an unprecedented rate, the demand is still exceeding supply. One of the best ways to expand capacity is through utilizing antigen-based viral tests which can detect fragments of proteins that are found on or within the virus.

So, what exactly is a rapid antigen test and how does it compare to the many testing options out there? First of all, you need to understand that an antigen is a molecule, such as a protein, which is foreign to your body and is capable of causing your immune system to produce antibodies against it. A rapid antigen test is used to detect the presence of foreign proteins that are structural or functional components of a pathogen, and are thus very specific to that particular pathogen.

An antigen test provides a qualitative “yes/no” answer on the availability of the pathogen in the patient sample. In case the target antigen is present in sufficient concentrations in the sample, it is going to bind to specific antibodies and generate a positive result.

Antigen tests are not a new thing. They have been around for years, offering healthcare providers with a way to rapidly diagnose medical conditions, like strep throat or the flu, from the point of care in a matter of minutes.

A rapid antigen test has various benefits. SARS-CoV-2 Antigen tests can be used as an alternative or in conjunction with molecular testing and they can help provide a solution to one of the biggest challenges that we are face with today: scale.  These tests are relatively inexpensive and they can be instrumental in helping healthcare systems combat COVID-19 through increased testing in both the laboratory as well as at the point of care.

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