COVID Testing: Two Types of Rapid Tests

Posted by SnapDev on Friday, January 14, 2022
Updated on: Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Keywords: covid covid testing doctor urgency room

Even though the worst of the pandemic is behind us, it’s still important to familiarize yourself with the COVID testing process. The best way to keep yourself safe from this disease is to follow all applicable safety guidelines in your area and seek out a COVID test if you believe you were exposed to the virus or begin experiencing symptoms. 

There are two types of rapid tests used to determine whether an individual has COVID:

  • Molecular testing- This test looks for the viral DNA and is the most sensitive type of test. There are two molecular testing options available; NAAT (nucleic acid amplification) and PCR (polymerase chain reaction).
  • Antigen testing- This type of testing looks for surface markers of the virus. The most accurate form of this test is a laboratory rapid antigen test, which has a very low possibility of a false positive and can determine whether you’re positive within 15-20 minutes.

While there are many at-home tests available for you to take, having a professional complete either a molecular test or a laboratory rapid antigen test will provide you with the quickest and most reliable result. You can discuss the best test-taking option and your results with a trained professional through The Urgency Room’s telehealth services.

What Type of Test Does The Urgency Room Use?

The Urgency Room uses a NAAT (nucleic acid amplification) lab-based viral molecular test. A NAAT test works by detecting the specific RNA sequences that comprise the genetic material of the virus. Lab-based NAAT tests are considered the most sensitive and the most reliable for detecting COVID. It’s more sensitive than a laboratory rapid antigen test because of its reliance on detecting specific DNA rather than surface markers of infection.

How Accurate Are At-Home Covid Tests?

More and more people have begun relying on at-home Covid tests as an alternative to a lab-based NAAT or laboratory rapid antigen test. The truth is that at-home Covid tests do not offer the same level of accuracy that lab based tests do. At-home tests are antigen tests and they look for proteins that indicate the presence of the virus. 

These tests can produce false positives or negatives for a variety of reasons. They work best with people who have a high viral load, but it’s not uncommon for an individual to receive a false result from these at-home tests. The FDA has suggestions for how you can reduce the risks of receiving a false positive or negative result, but these tests aren’t the most reliable option.

Lab-based tests are the best way to ensure you’re getting an accurate result. If you’re concerned you may have Covid, make an appointment online with The Urgency Room to determine your next steps. We’ll have you come in for the test, and then continue your treatment through our telehealth services after you receive your results. 

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Covid?

If you begin to experience a fever, cough, sore throat, headache, runny nose or congestion, it’s important to get tested right away. An at-home antigen test is a good first option in this situation, and if the result is positive, it likely means you have Covid-19. When you have symptoms and an antigen test is positive, there isn’t a need to confirm the result with a lab-based test.

However, if the at-home test is negative, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. If your symptoms persist or get worse, it’s a good idea to take another at-home test the following day or get a lab-based test done through your healthcare provider. The Urgency Room has options to help you through online and in-person Covid care.

The CDC is a great resource for patients when looking to further understand the usage of antigen testing. Continue to check with both the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health for more information and guidance.

Is A False Positive Covid Test Common?

False positive Covid tests are very common when you’re dealing with at home antigen tests. These tests are only looking for the proteins of the virus so, if you have a low viral load, you may receive a false negative even though you do have the virus. Alternatively, you could receive a false positive if the test instructions were not followed accurately or the sample became contaminated. 

False positive and negative results are far more likely to happen with at home tests than a NAAT or laboratorial rapid antigen test. If you believe you have Covid, please reach out to The Urgency Room or your local healthcare provider to schedule a lab-based test. 

Is A Rapid Test Accurate?

Rapid tests are usually a good tool, but they aren’t 100% reliable and have low sensitivity (the ability to detect positives accurately). Studies have shown conflicting accuracy rates of at home rapid tests, which only further reinforces the need for patients who believe they have Covid to get a lab-based test done. You’ll need to visit your local healthcare provider to have the test performed, but many offer online services to follow up. Here at The Urgency Room, we have online Covid care services ready to help our patients get through this trying time.

Why We Use The ID NOW Molecular Test

The ID NOW test we use at The Urgency Room is both highly sensitive and provides rapid results, which is ideal for a facility like ours, where samples are run immediately. Patients do not have to stay and wait for long periods of time with the use of this test. Our goal at The Urgency Room is to provide highly accurate, rapid testing to identify infection quickly and, therefore, reduce the spread.

Covid Tests Are Still In High Demand

Covid tests continue to be in high demand as we work together as a society to further contain and reduce the number of people infected by this virus. Both molecular and antigen tests are in high demand and we are doing our very best to safely test and treat as many patients as we can at The Urgency Room. If you are concerned you might have COVID or have questions about your at home results, self-isolate until you are able to be seen for a molecular test. Please schedule a test with us online to receive further guidance and treatment. 

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COVID Care at The Urgency Room

COVID Testing FAQs

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