Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not show symptoms, so a test that quickly detects these otherwise hidden cases is one of our best tools for tackling the virus. This is where antigen testing comes in. In its simplest form, an antigen test or lateral flow is an established technology, adapted to detect proteins (antigens) that are present when a person is currently infected with Covid-19.
Please be aware that some countries now require a negative antigen test result along with a negative PCR test result.
How Does an Antigen Test Work?
The antigen test kit comes in the form of a hand-held device. Inside is a strip of paper that changes colour in the presence of Covid-19 antigen. Like a home pregnancy test, the result is reflected as a band on the paper strip.
How To Take the Test
Covid-19 testing is carried out by taking a sample from the back of the throat using a swab. The swab is dipped into the extraction solution. Which is then dipped on to the device’s paper, producing the result. The result appears within minutes after the sample is applied.
Antigen Test vs PCR Test
There are two types of tests that detect Covid-19. The second is known as PCR testing. Both tests require a swab from the back of your nose or throat but unlike the antigen test, the PCR test sample is sent to a lab for testing. The process can take hours and requires highly sophisticated lab equipment and specialists. This process may be time consuming but it also comes with its perks, in that, the results are almost 100% accurate.
As previously mentioned, the test only takes a few minutes. But while the antigen test may be noticeably quicker, the downside is decreased sensitivity. Therefore the antigen test may not be as accurate at picking up the virus when the individual is outside the active infection stage.
When it comes to the antigen test, the person who administers the test can be crucial. A UK study found that the accuracy of the antigen test fell to 58% when administered by self-trained staff, versus 79% when tested by healthcare professionals. Source Horizon Magazine.
At JACE Medical our clinics are run by healthcare professionals who are experienced in sampling and testing for COVID-19. Our aim is to improve the testing capacity through NI. We want you to be able to spend time with your loved ones in the confidence that you won’t be putting them at risk. We also provide testing for corporations to assist in keeping your workforce safe and productive.
Covid Testing Northern Ireland
JACE Medical have testing locations in Letterkenny, Derry, Belfast International Airport at McCausland’s and a mobile testing unit.