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
Antigen tests are a crucial part of mitigating transmission as we come out of lockdown. We need the ability to detect the carriage of covid-19 and respond to it rapidly. As people return to work and society tentatively re-opens, robust testing programmes as part of a return to work strategy will be key to reduce spread and improve confidence amongst employees and customers
These tests are currently widely used for travel where the airline or destination country requires a negative result and certificate within specified time periods. Organisations are also using these tests to screen employees so they can safely return to their place of work.