COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, affecting 96+ million people around the globe and the threat continues to loom over the rest of the population like a sword of Damocles. With new test kits being manufactured at a rapid rate there is no doubt that the health-care industry is fervently working to put a leash on this monster by catering to the rapid demand for diagnostics tools. However, the conundrum around these tests leads to chaos specially in times when they need it the most. This article aims to shed light on various Covid-19 antigen tests which are known for fetching accurate and quick results.
What test are available in the market?
COVID has a myriad of symptoms like dry cough, fever, fatigue, headache, body ache, sore throat, loss of test or smell, etc. and if you fear you are exposed to the virus, it is advised to get yourself checked. Molecular tests, antibody, and antigen tests are the most common tests that help diagnose coronavirus.
A molecular test is also known as the RT-PCR test is used to detect if the person is currently a carrier of coronavirus. The samples are collected from nasal swabs, saliva, and throat of the patient. A process of detecting the virus involves complex PCR Technology that aims to identify the generic material that is present in the COVID. It is worth noting that the test results may take anywhere between 1-7 days and are more expensive than antigen tests.
Antibody tests have one specific goal which is to spot only the past COVID infections. Deriving results from the blood sample this test aims to detect the antibodies produced by the patient in response to fight the virus. However, the catch here is that it doesn’t reveal current infections if any, as well as results may take a few days.
Popularly known as rapid test or antigen rapid test is diagnosed using swabs from nose, throat, and saliva. These tests aim to detect the protein particles (antigen) within COVID. Recent developments from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have authorized the use of these tests in case of emergency. What sets the Antigen test apart from the Molecular test and Antibody test is that it provides the quickest results and is the most economical of the three. Furthermore, the technological process of the Antigen test is fairly simple compared to the other two tests and hence recommended if the results need to be confirmed by repeating the test a couple of times. This test can be your preliminary test and is available at point-of-care (POC) so it can be used if you fear you have been exposed to coronavirus, and the results are available within minutes. Negative test results will certainly bring relief however if the test is positive you can quickly decide the further course of action.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 Antigen kits
1) COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Tests – CareStart
This one deserves to be on the top of the list as it is the only test made in the USA which has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moreover, it is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) approved and takes only 10 minutes to provide the results. This test kit comes with 20 test devices, 20 extraction vials & caps, 20 nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, 1 positive and negative controls, a package insert and a manual.
2) COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test
Available only in the US with EUA approval, this kit promises test results within 15 minutes. Soon after placing the order, the test will arrive with a video that will guide you with a step-by-step process to carry out the test. For best results, use the kit within a week of onset of the symptoms. It also offers a fascinating Navica mobile app that will store the COVID-related history and you use for record-keeping.
3) SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test
The kit comes with a test device, extraction buffer tube, nozzle cap, sterile swap, film, and manual. The results are displayed within 15-30 minutes. The test displays accurate results especially during the acute phase of COVID when the respiratory tract is highly infected.
4) Ellume COVID-19 Home Test
Ellume kit can be used by both symptomatic as well as asymptomatic people and the kit is OTC so easy to acquire with test results available in just 15 minutes. The kit comes with a nasal swap, dropper, processing fluid, and a Bluetooth connected analyzer. Similar to Navica this too transmits the result to an app for record-keeping.
5) Clinitest Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test
The test suggests nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs over nasal swabs for 99.60% specificity. You can access the results within 15 minutes and is available at POC. It contains 20 test cassettes, 20 sterile swabs, 20 extraction tubes, 1 workstation, 2 buffers, 1 package insert. However, it is available only in CE countries, which means it is sold only in European economic areas and is yet to receive a nod from the FDA for emergency use authorization.
6) Biocredit Covid-19 Ag
It introduces black gold particle technology which offers higher accuracy and comes with 20 test kits. It delivers the fastest results in compression to the above five tests as results are available within 5-8 minutes. With a shelf life of 12 months from the date of manufacture, it can be used through both nasopharynx or nasopharyngeal swabs.
Antigen rapid test is our weapon against COVID as it aids in detecting the deadly virus at the onset of symptoms and can be performed at POC thus leading to quick actions against the battle with COVD. Its user-friendly process, quick results, easy availability, and accuracy are a few reasons behind its growing popularity.