Testing For COVID-19: Understanding Your Antigen Test
COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that has had a severe impact on the global population. Many individuals have been infected and have had to take precautions in order to keep themselves safe.
Along with following guidelines and maintaining social distancing, one of the most effective ways to make sure you’re COVID-free is to get an antigen test.
What Exactly is an Antigen Test?
Simply put, an antigen test is used to detect antigens, which are substances that tell the body that there’s something (like a virus or bacteria) that has invaded it. It’s like sound waves that sound the alarm.
When it comes to COVID-19, it’s a test that checks for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the virus that causes the disease. Antigen tests look for particular proteins that are only found in the virus.
Benefits of An Antigen Test
The main benefit of getting an antigen test is that it’s a fast option when it comes to testing for COVID-19. Antigen tests take a sample of fluid, most commonly your nose and throat, and get the results quickly.
In many cases, the results can come in as quickly as within 15 minutes. This enables you to have peace of mind as soon as possible.
Another benefit is that it’s highly accurate in comparison with other testings such as antibody tests. Antigen tests actually measure the presence and size of the virus, which makes it more accurate than antibody testing.
Furthermore, antigen tests can also be used to test for other viruses and illnesses, and is usually more affordable than the other tests.
Types of Antigen Tests
There are two types of antigen tests available: nucleic acid tests and antigen tests. Both can be used to detect the virus but each test has its pros and cons.
Nucleic Acid Tests
A nucleic acid test takes a sample of your saliva or fluid from you nose and throat and looks for pieces of the virus’s genetic material. This type of testing is considered the gold standard for diagnosis because of the accuracy and sensitivity. However, it is important to note that this type of test can take several days to receive results.
An antigen test takes a sample of your nose or throat like the nucleic acid test, but it looks for proteins on the surface of the virus instead. This type of testing is considered faster and more cost-effective but can also be less accurate.
How to Get an Antigen Test
Getting an antigen test is relatively easy and there are several different ways to get tested depending on your location.
In the United States, antigen tests are available at most hospitals, clinics, and urgent cares. You can also request home testing kits directly from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In other parts of the world, antigen tests are also available and typically cost somewhere between $60-$80 USD.
Getting an antigen test is one way to make sure you stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. It’s a fast, accurate, and cost-effective way to test for the virus.
It’s important to remember that while an antigen test can help diagnose an active case, it’s not a way to prevent the spread of the virus. Continuing to follow recommended guidelines such as social distancing, wearing face masks, and washing your hands remain key to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
By getting the test, you can have peace of mind that you are COVID-free and help keep those around you safe and healthy.