What is the COVID-19 Antigen (Ag) Test?
This COVID-19 Antigen Test is a rapid lateral flow testing kit that can be used to check for Coronavirus. It contains everything you need to test yourself for the virus and you’ll have your results in just 15 minutes. The test is easy to perform by yourself, just swab your nose and throat, put the swab into the pre-filled vial of the test solution, use your test strip and wait for your results. Each kit includes everything you’ll need for a single test with no extra equipment necessary.
What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
COVID-19, which is also known as the Coronavirus, is a highly contagious virus that can be fatal in some people. It has a few tell-tale symptoms to look for, including a new continuous cough, a high temperature which you can notice without measuring, and a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste. Due to the potential severity of COVID-19, especially in those who are vulnerable to its symptoms, governments worldwide have put restrictions into place to help stop the spread of the virus. These restrictions include lockdowns, the use of face masks in public, and encouraging people to wash and sanitise their hands regularly.
What is a lateral flow test?
Lateral flow tests are a type of test which are used to check for lots of different medical conditions, including the COVID-19 virus. One of the most popular and easily recognisable lateral flow tests is the home pregnancy test stick. The tests include a small, absorbent test pad, which is where you put your sample to be tested. The sample flows through the test, reacting with antibodies in the test strip which will then change colour to show you whether the test has worked and whether your sample contained whatever it was you’re testing for. So, in this case, you’ll see two lines on your test if you’ve tested positive for Coronavirus whereas on a pregnancy test you’ll usually see two lines if you’re pregnant.
How will a lateral flow test detect whether I have COVID-19?
These rapid lateral flow tests work by detecting the presence of the COVID-19 antigen in your sample. You’ll get your sample by swabbing the inside of your nostril and the back of your throat and then placing the swab inside the pre-filled vial of testing solution. When the solution has processed, it’s placed onto your lateral flow test strip or cassette where it will react with antibodies to show you your results. Within 15 minutes you’ll see lines form on your test which will let you know whether COVID-19 antigens were present in your sample or not.
Can I use these tests if I don’t have Coronavirus symptoms?
Yes, lateral flow tests are ideal for people who don’t have Coronavirus symptoms but want to get tested. 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus will be asymptomatic, meaning that you’ll have no symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others. By taking a lateral flow test you can find out whether you could be contagious and can make the necessary arrangements to self-isolate and prevent spreading COVID-19 to other people.
How accurate are these rapid antigen tests?
These rapid antigen tests are highly sensitive, which means that they will detect the vast majority of COVID-19 cases when the test is used correctly. As they test for the number of virus cells that are present in your nose and throat, they’re able to determine whether you are contagious with a high level of accuracy.
If this test result is negative does that mean I definitely don’t have the Coronavirus?
Unfortunately, a negative lateral flow test result does not necessarily mean that you don’t have Coronavirus. Although these tests are highly accurate and will detect the vast majority of cases, there is still a chance that you could get a negative result if you have or have had the virus. This is because these tests are at their best when checking whether or not you are infectious and could pass on the disease to someone else - the more virus present on your swab, the more infectious you are likely to be. This means that people who have the Coronavirus but have not yet reached the most infectious stage or have passed that stage in their recovery could see a negative result. However, you should remember that these tests are highly sensitive and will detect the vast majority of cases, they’ve already been able to detect thousands of cases successfully, just be sure to speak to a doctor if you have any concerns about your results.
How to take this rapid antigen test
There are three steps to taking a rapid lateral flow antigen test like this one. To start with, you’ll need to collect your specimen:
- Remove the nasopharyngeal swab from its pouch, taking care to only touch the stick and not the swab itself
- Tip your head back and gently push the swab into one of your nostrils until you feel resistance as it comes into contact with the back of your nostril
- Slowly rotate the swab 3 - 5 times over the back of your nostril, then carefully remove it from your nose
- Use the same swab to collect a sample from the back of your throat. Open your mouth wide and run the end of the swab over your tonsils or the back of your throat for around 10 seconds, taking care to avoid your tongue or the sides of your mouth
- Don’t put the swab down. Instead, place it into the vial of test solution right away so it can process your sample
The next step in the process will depend on whether you have a cassette test or strip test. The packaging on your test will let you know which you have.
- Cassette test: Once the sample has processed, add 2 - 3 drops of it into the sample well of your cassette test. The sample well is a round well at the end of the cassette
- Strip in tube: Once the sample has processed, place the test strip into the processing vial and screw the cap tightly onto the tube
How long will it take to get my results?
When you’ve prepared your test cassette or strip you’ll need to wait for just 10 - 15 minutes before reading your results. You’ll know your results are ready when you see lines appear in the cassette test window or on the test strip.
What do my results mean?
When it’s time to read your results you’ll need to pay attention to two lines in the testing window. The first is the control line, which marked with a C on cassette tests and is closer to the dark end of the test strip in tube tests, and the second is the test line, marked with a T on cassettes and further down the test strip in tube tests. The combination of these two lines will tell you what your results are, a good rule of thumb to note is that if you see two lines then your test is positive, even if one of the lines is darker than the other. If you’ve ever taken a home pregnancy test, you’ll find that reading your results is just as simple.
How often should I be testing for COVID-19?
How often you should test for COVID-19 will depend entirely on your personal circumstances. You should always get a test through the government’s testing service if you have symptoms, but if you aren’t showing symptoms then there are other things you’ll need to consider. We’d recommend symptom-free testing in the following circumstances:
- You’ve been in contact with someone who has Coronavirus
- You’re regularly mixing with people outside of your household or support bubble, for example, if you have to go into work, school, or any other area with lots of different people or members of the public
- You’re due to have an operation or will be going into hospital for a procedure
- After any other unavoidable events which had you mixing with other people
What should I do if I test positive for Coronavirus?
If you test positive for Coronavirus you should self isolate immediately, even if you aren’t showing symptoms. This means that you should stay home and avoid contact with people outside of your household for the next 10 days or longer if your symptoms don’t go away within that time. The people you live with will also need to self-isolate and you should try to avoid them as much as you can. For example, you may want to stay in one room and avoid using shared spaces as much as you can. If you can use a different bathroom from the others you live with that would also be a good idea, if not, make sure that the surfaces you’ve touched in a shared bathroom are cleaned after you’ve used them.
What is included with each test kit?
This product contains one COVID-19 lateral flow test kit which can be used once. In each test kit you’ll receive:
- Test cassette x 1
- Pre-filled vial of test solution x 1
- Nose & throat swab x 1
- Instruction leaflet x 1
Why can I only buy these tests for business/professional use?
Unfortunately, we cannot sell these tests for personal use, as they are CE marked for use in a business or professional environment only. When you place your order with us, you will be asked to confirm that you intend to use this product in a professional setting before you can check out. If you need a COVID-19 test but wouldn’t be using one for business purposes, we’d recommend going to your nearest rapid lateral flow test site if you aren’t showing any symptoms. If you do have Coronavirus symptoms, you can book a test appointment or order a home test from the government’s website.
How to store this product
Store in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight. Do not use if the expiry date printed on the original packaging has passed. Keep out of sight and reach of children.
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