When the federal government announced a plan to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests (called BinaxNOW), it generated hope, but it also questions the effectiveness of the rapid test and what is it good for.
What does a rapid (antigen) test tell you? Is it good for asymptomatic person who needs a prove of negative COVID result to return to work? What happens when a symptomatic person with a negative rapid test?
A rapid (antigen) test is ideal for symptomatic person or in a highly infectious area for the purpose of identifying positive infection therefor isolation can start sooner rather than later.
A negative rapid result should be treated as presumptive; it does not rule out COVID infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions. It is recommended to follow up with a PCR test to confirm the rapid test result.
If an asymptomatic person needs a proof of a negative COVID for travel, return to work, or school purpose, the gold standard is PCR Test. Rapid is not ideal for this situation.
There are three types of COVID Testing:
- PCR Test (polymerase chain reaction): the most accurate test to pinpoint ribonucleic acid (RNA) from saliva or a nasal swab. This test can be used for asymptomatic person or symptomatic person.
- Rapid (antigen) test: find specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
- Antibody tests can determine if the person had the virus, but it won’t spot active infection.
Currently, there are 4 rapid (antigen) tests approved by FDA: Quidel’s Sofia, BD’s Veritor, Abbott’s BinaxNow, and the LumiraDx.
myDoc Urgent Care offices offers PCR daily with 1-3 days turn-around time.
We will launch Rapid Testing soon and an announcement will be made.
– Our PCR Test is by Lab Corp, current turn-around time is 1-3 days. 90% of the test are reported within 24-48 hours. You need this test if you are traveling, have no symptoms, or with minor symptoms.
– Our Rapid Antigen Test is by BD’s Veritor (available soon, announcement will be made prior to launch), there are NO additional fees beside the urgent care office copay. A negative test result is to be followed up with a PCR test for symptomatic patients.