COVID-19 rapid antigen tests: Everything you need to know – National

Fast antigen assessments for COVID-19 are faster and simpler, but in addition much less correct, than the PCR (polymerase chain response) assessments that Canada has relied upon throughout the pandemic.

However as varied provinces make speedy antigen assessments extra extensively out there to companies, faculties and different teams, right here’s what you might want to learn about the right way to use them.

When must you take a speedy check?

Fast assessments are for individuals who don’t have any signs of COVID-19, like coughing or fever, mentioned Sarah Mostowich, program lead for the StaySafe Initiative, which gives speedy check kits in Waterloo Area in Ontario.

She mentioned it’s vital to notice that speedy assessments are typically provided as a part of a frequent testing program and aren’t usually administered simply as soon as.

“That is one thing that ought to be completed two to 3 instances every week or so when you’re feeling wholesome,” Mostowich mentioned.

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The concept is to make use of it as a screening instrument, to catch whether or not you will have COVID-19 earlier than you probably unfold it to others in your office, faculty or different higher-risk setting, she mentioned.

With COVID-19, individuals who don’t have signs can nonetheless transmit the virus, she mentioned, “And so it’s actually vital for us to have a measure to detect and shut down asymptomatic transmission.”

“It’s not a diagnostic instrument. It’s a display screen that persons are utilizing just like when somebody does a temperature test on you earlier than you enter the door, just like the symptom-screening questionnaires that it’s important to reply. And that is one other instrument to form of rule out whether or not you will have COVID or not.”

Learn extra:
Mother or father-led speedy COVID-19 testing program in Toronto faculty sparks curiosity in different communities

When you’ve got COVID-19 signs, it’s best to report back to a PCR testing centre and get that check as a substitute, mentioned Dr. Susy Hota, an infectious illnesses specialist and medical director of an infection prevention and management on the College Well being Community in Toronto.

You also needs to get a PCR check when you have been uncovered to a identified case of COVID-19, she mentioned.

Most provinces are focusing their speedy check methods on congregate settings like long-term care houses, companies and faculties, to comprise the unfold of the virus in these environments, Hota mentioned.

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Click to play video: 'Dr. Lisa Barrett talks Phase 5, Dal party, rapid test kits'

Dr. Lisa Barrett talks Section 5, Dal get together, speedy check kits

Dr. Lisa Barrett talks Section 5, Dal get together, speedy check kits

How do the assessments work?

The assessments usually are available in a small equipment containing a check strip, a swab, a vial of buffer answer and a check tube, Mostowich mentioned.

“The speedy assessments are actually easy. It’s about two minutes or so to truly take the check. Then it takes quarter-hour to course of,” she mentioned.

First, you add some buffer answer to the check tube, then you definitely swab inside your nostril, and put the swab into the tube, she mentioned. Then, you swirl it round within the liquid 5 or 10 instances, squeeze out any residual liquid from the swab and break off the highest of the swab. Then, you squeeze 5 drops of the answer onto the check machine and wait quarter-hour.

To look at Mostowich take a speedy check, click on the video beneath.

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Click to play video: 'How to take a COVID-19 rapid test'

The way to take a COVID-19 speedy check

The way to take a COVID-19 speedy check

After quarter-hour, the window of the check strip might be learn lots like a being pregnant check, she mentioned. One line means unfavourable and two strains imply constructive.

“The speedy antigen assessments are principally designed to search for a small piece of the virus that might be current when you swab the nostril,” Hota mentioned.

How are they totally different from different COVID-19 assessments?

In comparison with the PCR COVID-19 assessments that you simply may get at a delegated testing centre, these speedy antigen assessments are simpler to make use of, Hota mentioned.

For one factor, the swab doesn’t go as far up your nostril so it’s somewhat extra comfy, she mentioned.

It’s additionally extra handy.

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“It may be completed at dwelling and self-administered, which is a bonus. PCR assessments, clearly, it’s important to go to an authorized centre like an evaluation centre,” she mentioned.

You may as well get leads to quarter-hour after taking the check, as a substitute of ready as much as 36 hours for a PCR check, she mentioned.

Learn extra:
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Nonetheless, PCR assessments can provide extra data than simply whether or not or not you will have COVID-19, Mostowich mentioned.

“Usually once you get a PCR check, there’s different parts that they do – not simply to diagnose COVID-19, however genome sequencing to find out which kind of COVID you will have.” This may be worthwhile data for public well being, she mentioned.

The place are you able to get speedy assessments?

Entry to speedy assessments varies considerably throughout the nation, so it’s best to test the web site of your province’s well being ministry for particulars.

In Alberta and Ontario, you may make an appointment at Customers Drug Mart pharmacies to obtain a speedy check, at a value of about $40 per check.

Employers in lots of provinces can obtain speedy check kits by means of varied federal and provincial authorities initiatives and distribute them to their staff as a part of a testing program.

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Learn extra:
Quebec expands COVID-19 speedy testing in major faculties

In different provinces, together with B.C. and Saskatchewan, long-term care houses and different health-care settings have speedy check applications.

In Nova Scotia and Quebec, the province has pilot speedy testing applications for school-aged kids.

What must you do after you get your end result?

“In case you check constructive on a speedy antigen check, it’s best to instantly self-isolate and get your shut contacts to take action as effectively,” Mostowich mentioned. Then, she mentioned, the person who examined constructive ought to get a PCR COVID-19 check as quickly as potential to substantiate the end result.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Rapid testing begins in some Montreal-area schools'

COVID-19: Fast testing begins in some Montreal-area faculties

COVID-19: Fast testing begins in some Montreal-area faculties – Sep 13, 2021

In case you check unfavourable, it’s best to proceed to stick to public well being measures and check once more in about two days to substantiate you might be nonetheless unfavourable, Hota mentioned.

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“Having a unfavourable check end result will not be license to exit and get together,” she mentioned.

Hota worries that individuals may place an excessive amount of religion in speedy assessments and ignore the opposite public well being measures, like masking and distancing, which have additionally been proven to forestall COVID-19 transmission.

How correct are they?

Though speedy assessments are simpler and extra handy, they’re not higher in each method, Hota warned.

“It’s a trade-off as a result of the PCR check is much extra dependable and correct.”

Fast antigen assessments can present false negatives, she mentioned, which means you might need COVID-19 even when the check says you don’t.

Because of this, speedy antigen assessments ought to be taken greater than as soon as, Hota mentioned – each two days or thrice per week – to make sure that you don’t miss something, or that you simply haven’t been contaminated with this virus since your final check.

Learn extra:
COVID-19 testing not an efficient various to necessary vaccines, consultants say

“It’s additionally vital to notice that when you check unfavourable on an antigen check, it may be that you’ve got COVID, however you actually simply caught it,” Mostowich mentioned. “So that you’re not really shedding a viral load {that a} check would detect that you’ve got COVID.

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“That’s why we advocate for serial speedy testing, as a result of that is one thing that try to be doing each couple of days in order that when you did have COVID however you weren’t shedding sufficient, then in a few days you’d be shedding sufficient so that you simply’re detectable by a check.”

False positives can occur too although they’re much less widespread, she mentioned, which is why it’s best to instantly get a PCR check when you get a constructive on a speedy check to substantiate whether or not you will have COVID-19.

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