How Does a Rapid Antigen Test Work: A Brief Guide

Are you intrigued by the potential of rapid antigen tests but unsure how to obtain them and what information they provide? The Eatontown COVID testing specialists at A2Z Diagnostics are pleased to be able to answer questions like “How does a rapid antigen test work?” Citizens, first responders, and public health officials need accurate information about how COVID tests work and what they can and cannot tell us.

What Are Antigens?

Antigens are chemicals or foreign bodies in the body that trigger an immune response. When we encounter an antigen for the first time, our bodies mount immune responses and begin creating antibodies. After the body has time to create antibodies, the antibodies attach to the antigen, helping to neutralize it and improving the efficiency of the immune response.
In the context of COVID-19, the antigens are proteins that are part of the COVID-19 viral structure. The Rapid Antigen Test responds to the presence of telltale viral proteins within 20 minutes, making it effective as an initial surveillance or screening measure for large populations that might be at risk for COVID-19.

The Testing Process for Rapid Antigen Tests

How does a rapid antigen test work? During the rapid antigen test, the technician will swab the nose of the patient and apply the contents of the swab to paper tests strips that include antibodies against parts of the COVID virus.

Rapid Antigen Test Diagnostics

Rapid tests are prone to false negatives, so negative results are not dependable indications that the person is free of the virus. Tests that use polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a more time-consuming process, yield more accurate results and are appropriate for follow-up testing after a positive Rapid Antigen Test.
Rapid antigen tests sometimes produce false positive results, especially if the person administering the test does not strictly follow the instructions. However, false positives are much rarer than false negatives.

When To Get Tested

To learn more about when to test yourself for COVID or ask others to get tested, refer to the CDC’s COVID-19 testing guidelines.

Get Dependable Reliable Rapid Antigen Testing from A2Z Diagnostics

Now you know what to say if anyone asks you, “How does a rapid antigen test work?” do you want to learn more about rapid testing and PCR testing? Get the latest information about the accuracy of at-home COVID tests by contacting A2Z Diagnostics today at 732-542-3200. Select option 2 for client services.