Although many regional boundaries have been lifted, it is not to say the world is free from Covid-19.  If you’re yet to be vaccinated, then you may have to make do with antigen rapid test as part of the Covid-19 Protection Framework requirements. This could either be providing proof of a Covid-19 vaccine pass or a negative test.

But before you take advantage of the antigen rapid test, it is in your best interest that you understand what you are dealing with. Fortunately, that’s what we are here to help you uncover. Below are some of the things you need to know about the rapid antigen testing.

Who Can Get the Rapid Antigen Test for Free?

One thing you ought to keep in mind is that the rapid antigen test is only available for those meeting certain criteria. In a nutshell, one needs to be unvaccinated, over 12 years old, and asymptomatic. You might be wondering why this test is only set aside for asymptomatic patients. Well, the health advice for symptomatic people is that they should stay home and get a PCR test.

How Is It Different from the PCR Test?

You may already know that the antigen rapid test is regarded as a point of care testing that is ‘less invasive nasal swab’ than the PCR test.  However, the sensitivity of the test tends to be much less than a traditional gold standard PCR test. Furthermore, it comes in handy when screening infection in asymptomatic individuals.

Either way, the lower sensitivity implies those with low viral loads or in the pre-symptomatic phase may be missed. To navigate this reduction in sensitivity, doctors are now performing the rapid antigen test more frequently. That way, it is easy to increase the likelihood of detecting that point at which that individual does become infectious.

The Bottom Line

There you have it, some of the things you ought to know about the antigen rapid test. Keep in mind you need to present the negative test within 72 hours before departure. Skimp on this and you may be required to take another test. In short, it is highly recommended that you take the antigen test as close as possible to the time of travel. It would actually be better to take the antigen rapid test within 24 hours before departure, with the turnaround time for a result just 15 minutes.