Testing is an essential part of disease management because it prevents the spread of highly infectious diseases, such as the COVID-19, among people. This is why rapid antigen tests in Australia are effective tools for infection control during the pandemic.
A rapid antigen test kit is a quick test that can be performed on the spot and can yield accurate results when done properly. It is an immunoassay testing used to detect specific molecules. In the case of COVID- 19, the rapid antigen test is used to detect protein fragments of the virus, which can indicate a current viral infection.
Antigen tests are also called point of care tests because they can be conducted at home, nursing facilities or schools. The test is done by taking a sample from the nose or throat with the use of a cotton swab.
When you buy a rapid antigen test kit in Australia, make sure it is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). All self-test kits approved by the TGA meet the international standards set by the World Health Organization and European Commission.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is the gold standard for COVID-19 detection. It is a diagnostic test that is used to confirm an active infection and performed by a medical professional. PCR looks for the genetic material of a virus and can detect infection early.
Meanwhile, a rapid antigen test looks for the protein particle of a virus, and these particles can stay in the body for a while after the active infection. Thus, you can get a false-positive result even after recovering from the illness or a false negative when the viral load is still low in the early phase of infection. The rapid antigen test kit is not suitable to use when determining the end of an isolation period.
Despite being less in terms of sensitivity, the antigen test is still part of the pandemic management because it helps control and contain the spread of the virus because PCR test results take longer to produce.
Antigen tests are not as precise as the PCR test, which is done in a laboratory. They cannot detect minute traces of the virus, unlike the PCR test. This means that when an antigen test is used in the early phase of infection, it can yield a false negative result.
However, a rapid antigen test kit is still a valuable test that can help in the control and spread of disease when done properly. Antigen test has 85% sensitivity in detecting virus particles, especially in individuals who exhibit symptoms and are within the first week of infection. The higher the viral load is, the easier it is to be detected by the antigen test.
Antigen tests can be accurate in detecting infection and help control the spread when used regularly. A study showed how antigen tests can be equal to PCR tests as it was able to detect 98% of infections among college students and employees.
To understand the performance of a self-testing rapid antigen test in Australia, you can check for the positive per cent agreement (PPA) indicated by the manufacturer. The minimum clinical sensitivity should be 80%, and the clinical specificity should be at least 98%.
The TGA has categorised these self-test kits into three categories:
Two main factors that require you to self-isolate are when you are exposed to someone who is positive with COVID-19 (even when you are asymptomatic) or when you are exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
If you are waiting for your PCR test result, you need to isolate until the result is confirmed as negative. This is to protect everyone around you from being exposed to the virus. You must also follow government protocols regarding COVID-19 home isolation management.
Nowadays, rapid antigen self-test is a popular option for many because you can get the result as fast as 15 minutes. For the PCR test, you may have to wait hours to days to get a result.
When the rapid antigen test is positive, you need to get a PCR test to confirm the diagnosis because the antigen test can render a false-positive result. Meanwhile, you do not have to self-isolate when the result is negative, you’re not exhibiting any symptoms and you’re not in close contact with anyone who tested positive.
It is advisable that you get yourself tested for COVID-19 if you have a sore throat or other flu-like symptoms.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, home isolation should be done at least seven days from the day you received the test result. This is also the same for those who are exposed to those who are positive with COVID-19.
Self-test antigen kits should be in every home and facility. If you are unsure where to buy a rapid antigen test kit, check us out at Dexcon. We supply premium medical devices and personal protective equipment for the medical, industrial and retail sectors both in Australia and around the world. Our products include medical face shields, Australian-made surgical gowns, Orawell antigen rapid test pens, surgical masks, P2 respirators and more.
Dexcon is also an authorised distributor of the InnoScreen COVID-19 rapid test kits. We also have ALL TEST COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Self Test, both oral fluid and nasal tests. For more information about our products, contact us today.
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