Rapid antigenic tests provide a quick and easy way to test for COVID-19 at home, detecting active infections, including in asymptomatic people, in about 15 minutes. Often referred to simply as “rapid tests” or “home COVID tests,” more brands of home tests are now available, and they can be a valuable tool in managing life during the pandemic.
Overall, molecular laboratory tests – the most well-known type being a PCR (polymerase chain reaction, a technique used in the laboratory) test – are still considered the gold standard for confirming or ruling out infection with the virus. COVID-19. But while antigen tests aren’t as sensitive, they can detect if there is “a level of virus that we have to be concerned that someone could pass (COVID-19) to someone else” , said Dr Clare Rock, a clinical epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who runs a COVID-19 infection control consulting firm.
Frequent testing – for school, before and after a large indoor gathering, before you see a vulnerable person – can help reduce risk, and depending on your situation, it may be a good idea to keep a few of these tests handy. hand, especially as availability continues to be unpredictable. A negative result, however, does not necessarily mean that someone does not have COVID-19 – for example, if you swab too soon after potential exposure, you can test negative even if you are a carrier of the virus. “We generally recommend getting tested three to five days after exposure,” said Dr Matthew McCarthy, associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
By the end of 2021, 13 rapid antigenic tests had won FDA clearance for home use. Any FDA-cleared test may meet your needs, but here are three that we have found generally available (although stocks fluctuate frequently) and relatively affordable:
Abbott BinaxNow Self-Tests for COVID-19 Antigen
A popular test for refueling, Abbott’s BinaxNow COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test comes with two tests, does not require a smartphone app, and is often available at a discount.
* At the time of publication, the price was $ 14.
COVID-19 Intrivo On / Go Antigen Self-Test
The Intrivo On / Go COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test (also two tests per box) pairs with a smartphone app that guides you through testing (including a timer to make sure you take the time required to collect your sample) and displays the results on your phone.
* At the time of publication, the price was 23 $.