The demand for at-home COVID test kits has increased dramatically as the number of coronavirus cases has increased. While molecular PCR testing is claimed to be more accurate, rapid home tests are faster in delivering answers, which is why many people feel it reduces the chances of delays and relieves diagnostic lab pressure.
Self-testing provides quick results. Self-tests are one of numerous alternatives for diagnosing the virus that causes COVID-19, and they may be more convenient than laboratory-based or point-of-care diagnostics. Let us first understand how COVID-19 Home Testing Kit works.
How To Use At-Home COVID Testing Kit?
Follow the instructions described below to administer a COVID self-test kit.
- Wash your hands with soap.
- Open the COVID testing pouch and lay it down on the clean surface. Ensure that you take the test within 30 minutes after opening.
- Gently tab the pre-filled extraction tube on the table for the liquid to settle.
- Open up the cap and hold it.
- Do not touch the sterile nose safe swab end after opening it.
- Slowly push the nasal safe swap into both nostrils, one by one, up to a distance of 2-4 cm. In each nostril, roll the swab five times.
- Immerse the swab in the extraction tube and break it where necessary. Finally, put the nozzle cap on the tube
Mistakes To Avoid
If you’ve never done a COVID-19 test at home before, make sure you read the instructions on the testing package and follow them exactly.
Before doing any test, it is essential that you wash and sanitize your hands. The test can get contaminated and the findings may not be reliable if you do not follow these basic hygiene protocols.
How To Detect a False Positive/Negative Test?
While at-home testing kits are quick to produce results and affordable, it does not mean they are 100% accurate. This implies that there is a chance of receiving incorrect results, such as a false positive or negative.
A COVID test kit displays either two lines next to the letters C and T, indicating a positive result, or only one line next to C, indicating a negative COVID result. If you detect very faint lines on the testing equipment, however, you may find it difficult to interpret the results, and the odds of a false negative or positive are significant.
If the line appears after the interpretation window, however, it is not considered a positive/negative test.
As a result, it’s critical to read the findings within the time limit. Most exams have a 30-minute time limit, while others may have a shorter time limit of roughly 15 minutes.
At-Home Antigen Tests vs RT PCR COVID Test
Self-COVID tests may be a little behind in terms of accuracy when compared to molecular or PCR testing.
While at-home antigen testing may appear to be more convenient than PCR tests, the risk of a false positive or negative is substantially higher with fast tests. The main reason for this is that the antigen test only looks at the protein portion of the virus, not the whole RNA. Rapid testing employs a method that tracks the virus’s protein and determines whether or not a person is infected, whereas molecular testing looks for the virus’s RNA, or genetic component, and is more likely to produce correct results.
So, if you want to prevent any diagnostic blunders, you should have an RT PCR test.