RAKE Study

Free COVID-19 Antigen & PCR Tests

Book today
Our Hillcrest testing center

Only over 18yrs Old & Required to be experiencing COVID-19 Like Symptoms, OR COVID-19 Exposure OR Doctor Referral

Only At Hillcrest (KZN) Drive-Through Testing Centre

Bookings start at 10am to 3:30pm – Mon to Fri

Antigen Results in 10 mins & PCR Results in 24-48hrs

Testing Completely Free & Includes Medical Results Certificate With Each Test

This study is proudly partnered with CAPRISA

What our EPIC customers have to say

Compliments to your staff and centre. I was so impressed by how the entire process was handled. So polite and comforting and professional.

Dee Munks, Durban Epic Testing Centre Client

Very impressed with your service. Your Staff were professional and well mannered. Will definitely recommend you!

Cheryl Clegg, Cape Town Epic Testing Centre Client

Baie danke dat julle epicentre gekry het om my COVID-19 toets tuis to kom doen. Die hele proses was glad nie onaangenaam nie, Josh was baie vriendelike en die toets was vinnig en glad nie traumaties soos wat die staat en social media jou wil laat dink nie. Weereens dankie, ek sal jul op hoogte hou oor die resultaat proses.

Jaco, PI; Cape Town Epic Testing Centre Client
What a fast and friendly service!
Nadia, Maritime Solutions

My client would like to thank the entire Cape Town Epicentre team, for the excellent manner in which their employees have been made aware of their status.

Jan, Optimal Solve; Cape Town Epic Testing Centre Client

I am so grateful for all that Johann has done for us as a family and still doing. I am eternally grateful, and I stand in awe of his kindness. It brings tears to my eyes to think that someone can be so kind to total strangers. May the Lord bless you and keep you and take you from strength to strength. I took my uncle from a drug house about two months ago. He was slowly disappearing because of malnutrition. He doesn’t have any children or a wife. We all he has, and now you are willing to go the extra mile for him. My words are not enough to thank you. 🙏🏼 Bless you sir

Melton, Cape Town Epic Testing centre client

RAKE Explained

What is RAKE?

RAKE is a Study, which aims to come to patient’s homes and give them the chance to test themselves.

Take charge of your COVID-19 test. Epicentre believes you should have control of your health. When you feel sick, your body is sensitive. With self-swabbing, you can control how fast or slow your swab is inserted during your COVID-19. This complete control ensures a less painful and invasive test and has evidence of equal effectiveness of tests by trained professionals.

Epicentre Health Research is in partnership with The Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis (CRDM) as part of The Viral Watch (VW) programme. This study aims to test for both the influenza viruses, Human respiratory syncytial virus and SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19).

What is the RAKE test procedure?

To book a RAKE test with Epicentre, you will need to either book a test online or message our WhatsApp number at 072 843 7564

Completing a brief questionnaire

✔ A nasal and 2 nasopharyngeal swabs to conduct PCR, and 2 Antigen tests.

✔ COVID-19 positive patients will be invited to participate in a follow-up study.

What are we hoping to achieve?

COVID-19 is a new disease that has affected the lives of all South Africans. There is still a lot to learn about COVID-19 and how it has affected communities. Our primary aim is to:

1. To assess the COVID -19 Rapid Antigen diagnostic tests in the South African setting

2. This study will evaluate a SAPHRA approved antigen rapid COVID-19 test and a new unregistered but very promising second antigen rapid COVID-19 test

3. To improve the detection of these viruses to establish how COVID-19 is spreading in urban and rural KwaZulu-Natal

4. In order to guide locally appropriate prevention and clinical care.

Who should sign up for RAKE?

You can join the RAKE Study if:

✔ You have a doctor referal OR Have been exposed to COVID-19 OR You are experiencing any of these symptoms:

shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or small, fatigue, myalgia or chest pain

✔ You can visit our Hillcrest Drive-Through Testing Centre

What just want to get tested for free but don’t want to be part of a study?

❌ Unfortunately, it is a requirement of our free testing that you take part in our study

✔ You are welcome to make use of our paid testing service.

Will I find out my results of my test?

✔ Yes, we will send you your results

How is RAKE Study anonymous?

✔ All participants’ details are kept private so that participants cannot be identified.

✔ To do this we link participants to a barcode not their name.

✔ The RAKE Study has gone through a very strict ‘ethical review’ with several independent ethical comities for every part of the study. We have to protect every participant and follow a very strict plan about what happens to each person’s information (in terms of where it goes & who sees it). Which are explained in detail to every person who participates.

✔ & each team member in the RAKE study team, is required to sign a confidentiality agreement when they begin working on the project.

So they may not discuss this information or disclose it to any outside parties.

Why is it important for people to participate?

✔ You will help scientists know if these new antigen tests are effective at testing people for COVID-19 in South Africa

✔ You help South Africa make testing easier and safer

When should you get a RAKE PCR test?

The Rake Study uses both an Antigen and a COVID-19 PCR test or a polymerase chain reaction test. The PCR test is a COVID test that is done to find genetic material from the COVD-19 virus. This kind of molecular tests detects the RNA of the coronavirus and are sensitive enough to only need a very tiny amount of it in order to pick up an infection.

The benefit of this test is its ability to pick up very small amounts of viral RNA very early in an infection, so there is a low chance for false negatives, including among pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases.

You can test for COVID-19 5 days after you have been exposed to the virus.

In South Africa having a COVID test result can be the difference between getting into hospital, so we all need to understand that to book a COVID test with Epicentre:

You DO NOT need to wait 7 days

You need to wait 5 days after you think you touched or breathed in the COVID virus

You DO NOT need a doctors referral

You Do NOT need to be showing symptoms

You just need to make an online booking or arrive at our testing branch (We are happy to accept walk-ins)

In the picture above you can see the process or stages of a COVID-19 infection

Day (-)5: patients exposure to COVID-19 happens.

It is only after this 5-day period that their infection will officially ‘begin’.

Day 0-2: 5 days after their initial exposure, their infection will ‘happen’ in these first 2 days

They will become contagious in those first 2-3 days, but will show no symptoms

You can test at this point because your infection has officially begun

Day 3: Their symptoms will appear

But for 80% of people, they will have no symptoms or a mild case of COVID-19

Day 5-7: This is a crucial period of days as it is at this point that many people go into hospital if they have a serious case of the virus. Some patients may have a “mild” case of the disease in the very beginning, but their symptoms may get worse over the course of the first week or more & then they may need hospitalization.

Those who need hospitalization normally reach this point of needing additional health support on day 5 to 7 after their symptoms start (Wang, et al.).

These patients should be on the lookout for any worsening ability to perform normal activities or tasks at home due to ‘shortness of breath’. These patients should immediately contact their doctor.

These patients need to take a copy of their positive COVID-19 results & get their symptoms checked at a healthcare facility.

For more information on the serious symptoms of COVID-19 to watch for, you can read our informative article.

Day 14: If you had a mild case and are symptom free, you can stop isolating.

After this point if you recovered and want to test for a COVID-19, you would need to use a Rapid COVID-19 Antibody test

For a more in depth look at the stages of a COVID-19 infection take a look at our helpful article on the day by day symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.

How can a RAKE test help you?

✔ Free Rapid COVID-19 Antigen test (SAPHRA approved)

✔ Free confirmatory PRC test available within 36-48 hours.

What Laboratory Does RAKE Use?

Our RAKE study uses the CAPRISA Lab in Durban

Where can you get a COVID Antibody Laboratory test?

You can get COVID-19 tested by our COVID-19 testing angels at one of our many branches!

Book with Epicentre

For 20 years Epicentre has been fighting South African’s infectious diseases, and now we’re taking on COVID-19! We are a company founded on a vision, ending disease in South Africa! So we believe in making an IMPACT.

We are an independent organization that is committed to creating a positive impact on health & wellness for all in South Africa.

We want to close the gap between unscreened, undiagnosed, and uncontrolled HIV & COVID-19 infections as well as other chronic diseases for all South Africans.

By booking your tests with Epicentre, you are supporting a real local company that has worked for 20 years in all 9 provinces, from Pollsmoor prison to Constantia; & you’re getting a gold standard service that experts trust!

Epicentre offers:

Rapid COVID-19 Antigen/infection testing

(R250 with a R50 pensioners discount!)

Cough Check 3 in 1 PCR: RSV, Flu & COVID


Drive-Thru COVID-19 PCR Testing


Home based COVID-19 PCR Testing

(R1150 + travel over 50kms)

Rapid COVID-19 Antibody Tests

On Sale! (R150)

Express International Flight Testing

(PCR Flight certificate in 12hrs)


Cape Town Only

Extra Express International Flight Testing

(PCR Flight certificate in 4-5hrs)


Cape Town Only

International Flight Testing Package

(PCR + Antiviral Mask)


Laboratory Typhoid Test

Drive Through


Cape Town Only

Laboratory Typhoid Test



Cape Town Only

Rapid Typhoid Test

Drive Through


Cape Town Only

Rapid Typhoid Test



Cape Town Only

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