Also known as an Antigen test, it detects the presence of viral RNA. It aims to answer: do I have the virus now? This requires taking a swab from the throat and nose and then analysing the specimen in the lab using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
The test is taken to:
⦁ Diagnose infection
⦁ Test following infection to see if the virus has been cleared
⦁ Screen asymptomatic individuals to detect if they carry virus and are potentially infectious
These tests are currently widely used for travel where the airline or destination country requires a negative result and certificate within specified time periods (which can be checked on the UK government website).