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The Daily Aus

Self-testing COVID kits anyone? What are rapid antigen tests?

We know how much you all love sticking things up your nose, but that could all change very soon.

Let us know what you want answered 👇

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Video chapters —

00:00 – Intro

00:16 – What is rapid antigen testing?

00:26 – How does it work?

00:45 – Are they accurate?

01:13 – Who will use them?

01:40 – Outro

Transcript —

As students in New South Wales and Victoria return to school, they\’ll likely use the rapid antigen tests to monitor for COVID 19. But what actually is it and how does it compare to PCR testing? Rapid antigen testing is a testing method used to detect COVID 19, just like the current PCR testing Australia is using. Rapid antigen tests use a swab from the nose and throat to collect a sample.

Here\’s how they work from the spot, from your nose and throat, a place into a chemical solution and then onto a strip of paper. The paper is reactive and will show you the result. Kind of like a pregnancy test. The benefit of the rapid antigen test is that it delivers results much faster than the current PCR tests, with results available within 30 minutes.

While rapid antigen testing produces faster results, they aren\’t as accurate as PCR testing, with some tests delivering false negative or false positive results. That means someone could be out in the community thinking they\’re cova negative when they\’re actually positive. When considering whether Australia should use the tests, medical experts pose one key question is the prevalence of COVID low enough to continue with slower, more reliable testing, or is there enough community spread to necessitate fast testing that might not be as accurate.

It\’s not just schools that are considering whether the rapid antigen tests might be right for them. Communities on the New South Wales Queensland border, frontline workers who need daily tests and remote and regional communities all have these tests on their radar. It doesn\’t look like we\’ll be skipping the usual COVID tests anytime soon. While rapid antigen testing is not exactly perfect, it\’s a way to stay on top of COVID quickly, regularly and cheaply, and could mean a world of difference for thousands of school students this year.

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