COVID-19 rapid results diagnostic tests can show if you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This is an antigen test, often referred to as a rapid test.
In short, antigen tests produce faster results and are easier to perform than PCR tests, which must be administered by a healthcare professional. However, antigen test results are less reliable than PCR results as they are more likely to produce false negatives.
Antigen tests detect specific viral proteins that are present in the body during infection. These proteins indicate the presence of the virus, but they are not the virus itself. These tests are only able to detect these proteins when the virus is most active and infectious, during the “peak” of infection. Rapid tests are likely to produce false negatives during the incubation period and post-infectious phases.
PCR tests, on the other hand, detect the genetic material of the virus itself through an RNA sample. This eliminates potential interference from other viruses, making the test more reliable. However, results may take several days as opposed to 15 minutes for rapid tests.
Many places around the world still require negative COVID tests for incoming and returning travelers.
Infection cannot be ruled out by a single negative antigen test result. A rapid test does not have the same reliability as PCR tests, especially in people without symptoms. It is recommended that a negative antigen test be repeated at least 48 hours apart to more confidently rule out infection. To confirm the antigen test result, a follow-up NAAT may be recommended.
Protect your community by getting tested when you’re feeling under-the-weather.
Does not require fasting.
Testing all ages.
*The COVID-19 test is offered at no cost to patients if they are experiencing symptoms or have had exposure to a person who is possibly positive. If they are uninsured, the test is covered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. If they are insured, we will bill their insurance. No copay or deductible will be charged in line with emergency pandemic guidance. Please note public health surveillance & travel testing will incur a $20 charge for rapid testing. Prism Health Lab’s healthcare providers will attempt to contact patients before charging.