Our Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test Explained
What is a ‘Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test’?
Antigen tests, like the name suggests, test for antigens. An COVID-19 Antigen test basically looks for fragments of COVID-19 antigens within a person’s body to see if they’re infected with the virus.
“An antigen is a substance recognized by the body’s immune system, which can [then] respond by generating proteins called antibodies that specifically recognize that antigen,” Albert Shaw, MD, a Yale Medicine infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine
That basically means, “the point of an antigen test is to detect the presence of a protein—the nucleocapsid protein—which is part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is the cause of COVID-19.” [Dr Shaw].
What is the Rapid COVID Antibody test procedure?
To do an Antigen test for COVID-19 with Epicentre, you will need to either book a test online or just pop in to one of our branches.
The way a COVID-19 Antigen test works is similar to a PCR COVID-19 test. We will have a nurse open a new Antigen Test packet. We will then use a new nasal saw to collect a nasal cavity swab. Our nurses are very gentle and whilst the test will be over quickly, we will do our best to make you feel calm and safe during the entire process.
This swab will “then be placed into a special solution for virus detection,” says Dr. Shaw.
You will then wait 20 minutes while your test ‘loads’ your results. After which we will share your result with you.
Who should get a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test?
Having an Antigen test is helpful if:
- You have recently started symptoms of COVID-19
- Your doctor thinks you may have the novel coronavirus and have recently started (1-3) symptoms
- You have been in close contact with an individual suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19 more than 5-7 days ago, and you want to have a quick test done to check your status
Rather get a PCR test if:
- You are looking to get a test done for an official purpose such as leaving the country, having a medical procedure or flight – as this method of testing has not yet been approved for these purposes in all countries
- You have been exposed to COVID-19 and started symptoms more than 3 days ago
Get an Antigen & PCR test if:
- Antigen testing has a greater possibility of a false negative especially if you are out of the peak infection testing times. If you are unsure of your negative test result rather get a PCR test to be certain of your negative result.
- Some countries require both a COVID-19 Antigen test and PCR test always ask the airline what is needed for your destination country.
When should you get a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test?
An Antigen Test is looking for antigen fragments, you will have the most fragments when you have the most COVID in your body. This stage happens when you are at your peak infectiousness 2-3 days before your symptoms start to 2-3 days after your symptoms begin.
This stage will start, 5 days after you come in contact with an infected person, when your incubation period ends; and this period when you can test ends 3 to 4 days after you start your symptoms. This can clearly be seen on the chart above as the purple bars represent the amount of virus in your body. You can see how the amount of virus shoots up suddenly at day 0 and drops off suddenly after 3-4 days.
How can a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test help you
A Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test can help you:
- Find out if you currently have COVID-19 & are highly infectious
- If you need to have a very quick test to determine your COVID-19 status
- For travel to some countries
What Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test Does Epicentre Use?
The Healgen Coronavirus Ag Antigen Rapid Test
This COVID-19 Antigen test that has been approved for use in South Africa, Germany, the USA and by the UK. The accuracy of this test is 96.3%, and it has a high sensitivity and specificity. It is also CE certified.
Where can you get a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test?
You can get a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test at all of our 3 branches, in Wynberg, Hillcrest, & Randburg.