How Accurate are Quick Tests for COVID-19?

by Anite Allesis

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has impacted our lives in more ways than we can count. A vast majority of countries have imposed a lockdown and people are going only to the stores to buy only necessities. It’s been a year now since the virus changed the world completely, and humanity still has many difficulties coping with all the hardships that the pandemic imposed.

Pretty much all the industries have experienced a massive loss in income and many jobs were lost. It can be said that the only hope humanity had for a solution was a vaccine. Despite that they are now available, we can see that there are still many obstacles that need to be overcome before we will be able to return to the normal way of living. In the last couple of months, the concept of quick tests for COVID-19 was introduced.

Some companies and official institutions have decided to implement them in their everyday activities so they can monitor their own, local, transmission rate. In case you are interested in taking a look at some of these quick tests, you can read more and inform yourself a little better. However, we can see that there are stories about them not being as effective as the officials present them to be. Therefore, we would like to take a look into it. Without further ado, let’s go.

How Do They Work?

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It needs to be said that there are two main types of quick tests for COVID-19. The first one is called sped-up, and the best way to describe it is to say that it is a smaller version of the PCR test. Furthermore, it needs to be said that this is a molecular-based one. It means that it is looking for the virus’s genetic material in the sample taken from the patient. We are sure you are familiar with that the sample is collected by inserting cotton into the mouth or nose of the patient. The material is then tested in the laboratory.

The second type of test is done by testing the antigens of the virus itself. For those who are not familiar with the term, it means that it samples proteins that can be found on the virus’s surface. The samples are collected in the same way as it is with a PCR. The only difference is that they will not need to go to the laboratory for further examination. Instead, they have some kind of plastic card that has all the features and can function as a test. When the sample touches them, these cards will change their color and the results will be known immediately.

Are They Reliable?

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Since we are talking about fast-paced tests, you can be sure that the accuracy will be sacrificed to a certain degree. When it comes to the antigen ones, they are not as sensitive as the other ones. At the same time, they require a greater amount of the virus to be present for them to show results. However, it needs to be said that they can be quite helpful with discovering the virus during its earlier stages.

Also, we can see that this type of test can be of much help when testing a big group of people even in a setting that doesn’t offer too many resources. Without any doubt, the person who has been confirmed as positive by this one should be considered infected by COVID-19. However, the negative result is not as reliable and it requires further examination at a laboratory.

When we are talking about the molecular-style test, it can be said that can be considered reliable only in case when there’s a quality sample. It’s needless to say that it needs to be used by a person who has enough knowledge in this field. Otherwise, there’s a chance that the results will not be as accurate as we need them to be. So, the person who does the testing needs to have the knowledge provided by the manufacturer.

Are Home Rapid One’s Dependable?

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Without any doubt, it would be great for people to get tested at their own homes. Surely, the test will need more time to show the results. However, they would be 100% accurate. But we can see that the reality is pretty far from that. It needs to be said that a quick one has a lot of different variables, which makes it hard for the experts to be confident in the results they show.

But it needs to be said that you need to have a quality sample to get a proper result. Even though taking the sample is not painful, it is not the most pleasant thing in the world. There’s absolutely no doubt that many people would like to take these samples by themselves. Plus, mailing home rapid ones can be pretty tricky. We don’t recommend potential patients to use them.

What Do the Results Mean?

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In case you feel some of the symptoms, and the results of these tests say that you are infected with a COVID-19, you should seriously consider it as an indication that you have it. It means that you should go into quarantine and call a doctor who can help you, mainly by giving you some useful piece of advice. But in case you have a negative result, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take it for granted.

Instead, you should go and take a PCR one. Only by doing that you will be able to know if you are infected with a virus or not. Sadly, we can see that many people have made a mistake by trusting only in results shown by the quick ones. So, prepare yourself for the second round.

The Verdict

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From what we’ve been able to gather from a lot of reliable and credible sources, we can say that quick tests are accurate to some degree. It depends on the conditions provided by the manufacturer. So, you will need how to use them. At the same time, they are not nearly as reliable as PCR tests, and we would advise you to consider this option first before you decide to use quick ones.

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