Antigen test for Covid-19 for travellers: what should you know?

With all the information in the news about testing for corona virus disease, it is not surprising that there is confusion about the tests. The Rapid Antigen Test for Covid-19 is carried out to identify the current infection of corona virus in patients when a person shows signs or symptoms consistent COVID-19 and in asymptomatic patients who had contact with people with positive case. 

The antigen test is quick and painless, capable of detecting the viral protein, which, if the result is positive, means active viral infection. There are other types of tests for COVID-19, but the antigen test is faster than the others are. So travelers can take either of the two but if they want to go for faster results antigen test is best. 

Antigen test and RTPCR: what is the difference?

There are certain differences between the COVID-19 tests. Known as the molecular test, RTPCR test detects the genetic material of the COVID-19 virus using a laboratory technique called polymerase chain reaction. The antigen test has lower sensitivity than the RTPCR test, especially in asymptomatic people with low viral loads. 

However, in patients with a high viral load, which usually occurs in the pre-symptomatic phase, 1 to 3 days before symptoms, and in the initial symptomatic phase, the sensitivity is greater than 90 % when compared to the RTPCR test.

Who should perform the antigen test?

Antigen testing is indicated for people with symptoms and suspected disease, preferably before the seventh day of symptoms. It is very important to highlight that if the clinical suspicion is high, a negative test is not able to exclude the diagnosis and complementation with RTPCR is indicated. The day 2 antigen test can also be performed in people without symptoms but who have had contact with patients infected with COVID-19. In cases like this, antigen testing can result in a false-negative diagnosis, and repeat testing is recommended after 72 hours.

Is there insurance coverage for antigen testing?

No, for now the antigen test is only available in private services. The technique used to perform the test is with swab samples, which will be introduced in the nose to the region. The procedure is painless, but discomfort is possible. Currently authorized devices are capable of being read from 15 minutes after the exam is taken. The result has a period of 1 to 2 hours to be revealed. There are two possible results, the positive, which means active viral infection, and the negative, where the presence of the virus in the body is not detected. Simply choose the best day and time to perform the antigen test safely and reliably. 


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