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COVID-19 Antigen Tests and where to buy them

If you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you can use the COVID-19 rapid antigen test to detect if you have the virus. This test can give you the result in five to 30 minutes and requires little training. It also costs a fraction of what other COVID-19 tests cost.

What is SARS-CoV-2? What is COVID-19?

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus that first appeared in Wuhan, China in 2019. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been identified in humans before. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Where do coronaviruses come from?

Coronaviruses can infect and circulate among different animal species, such as pigs, cats or dogs. Some groups of coronaviruses also circulate among humans and cause seasonal epidemics, mostly during the winter months. Coronaviruses that circulate among humans are thought to originate from animal reservoirs.

Bats are also considered natural hosts of these viruses and have been the source of coronaviruses that have transmitted to humans and caused severe disease. Sometimes this happens through an intermediate host. For example, the first severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) originated in bats and was transmitted to humans via civet cats, causing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in humans in 2003. A mortality of around 30% has been observed in humans following infection with SARS; however, no human cases have been reported since 2004.

Similarly, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) can transmit from camels to humans, causing MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). The first transmission was observed in 2012 and human infections are mostly limited to the Arabian Peninsula.

The precise way in which SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from animals to humans is currently unknown.

How does the antigen test work?

The antigen test works by mixing a sample from the patient with a buffer and reagents. The test results will be visible as a colored line if the patient is positive. These tests are available at most pharmacies and doctors’ offices and can be used at home as well. They can provide fast results and enable doctors to make decisions quickly.

The typical antigen test starts with swabbing a sample of your nasal discharge or throat. Newer methods are available that use saliva, which is safer and easier to collect than swabs. A saliva sample contains antigens that break down the virus and release specific viral proteins. The antigen test then binds to these proteins. The results will indicate whether or not you have the SARS-CoV-2 virus or not.

Advantages and limitations of antigen testing

Antigen assays are faster than gold-standard PCR tests. However, they are not as sensitive as the PCR version. Consequently, they may result in false negatives. However, the rapid results can help physicians focus their efforts on identifying infectious people. These tests are also easier to administer than the PCR tests.

Only use an antigen test that has a CE mark with a 4-digit number on the packaging.

A CE is a quality standards mark for products sold on the European market. It means the product conforms to European safety standards and performance.

After the Test

Once you have completed the test it is important that you report your result, positive or negative, to the HSE. You can do that by following this link here. This helps to track the amount of cases in the country and is crucial to public health management.

Where to get reliable Antigen Tests

You can buy them from most chemists and supermarkets, alternatively you can get your antigen test packs online. Just remember to check that they have a CE mark to ensure that they are the correct ones.

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