Have COVID Symptoms But Rapid Antigen Test Negative?

August 3, 2022
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Have you been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms – but every time you take a rapid antigen test it’s negative? 

Don’t worry, it happens. Studies have shown that antigen tests can fail to detect any signs of the Omicron variant. In the study of 30 Omicron-infected patients, it took several days for the antigen test to detect the virus. 

“They’re aware that there are flaws with antigen testing,” said Dr. Robby Sikka, lead author of the study in an interview with The New York Times.

Should we stop using antigen tests entirely? Not at all!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asserts that antigen tests can detect the Omicron variant. They just have reduced sensitivity. However, the FDA does suggest getting a PCR test whenever you experience any COVID-like symptoms.  

What are the different types of tests to detect COVID-19?

BODY IMAGE 2 antigen min

To determine if one has a COVID-19 infection, two different tests are done.

The first is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, otherwise known as a diagnostic or molecular test.

This type of test has been dubbed the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to COVID-19 testing. It can detect the material from a COVID-19 virus in less than 24 hours from samples taken from your nostrils. 

The other type of test is the rapid antigen test. This type of COVID-19 test can be performed without any lab analysis, and can produce results in minutes. 

Antigen testing is more common since it’s cheaper and can generate answers quickly. However, medical experts advise patients not to rely on this form of at-home testing, especially if they are experiencing symptoms. 

Why do rapid antigen tests sometimes yield inaccurate results?

Despite reports saying antigen tests sometimes produce inaccurate results, medical professionals say not to abandon the test entirely. 

“The message is not that we should stop using these tests,” Isabella Eckerle, a clinical virologist at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, told The New York Times. 

Moreover, rapid tests rarely produce false positive results; one research letter published in JAMA estimated false positive rates to be less than one percent. 

Many of these false positive results were linked to a single batch of tests, suggesting quality control issues rather than a problem with test accuracy.

According to a study published in medRxiv, the accuracy of at-home antigen testing in detecting Omicron is similar to its accuracy in detecting Delta in the pre-print stage.

So, what can be causing so many errors in rapid antigen self-testing? Well, there’s a good possibility that it could be as simple as failure to perform the test correctly. When you conduct an at-home rapid antigen test, medical professionals are not involved. If you don’t follow the instructions correctly, there’s always a chance that your test won’t return an accurate result.  

However, at-home PCR test samples offer a far higher chance of accuracy, since these are analyzed in a laboratory by experts.   

Why an at-home PCR test is the best way to go

If you’re looking for a reliable way to test for COVID-19 at home, consider an at-home PCR testing kit

Safe for anyone two years old and above, this is the simplest and most efficient way to determine if you have COVID-19 or not. It’s a much better option since it:

  • Reduces the risk of spreading the disease 
  • Detects every COVID-19 variant
  • Has a higher likelihood of accuracy

Even better, if you reside in the NYC area, you can have COVID-19 testing kits delivered by Uber to your home. This will eliminate any delays in your results as you can send them back on the same day you took your test. This delivery service will soon also be available in other cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, Seattle and Chicago. 

How can you order an at-home PCR testing kit?

First, visit this page. Once you fill out all the necessary information, your order will be shipped or delivered to you immediately.

An authorized individual will deliver your at-home COVID-19 PCR saliva testing kit. After performing the test, you can then send it back to the lab for testing. 

Once that’s been completed, all you need to do is wait. You will receive an email within 24 hours once your sample has arrived in the lab. 

An in-person lab test provides the most reliable results 

If you want to have a medical professional do the test for you, you can also opt for an in-person lab test. 

At Fastlab, a FREE in-person lab test is available – with turnaround times from as little as just 10 minutes. When you opt for in-person lab tests, you’re guaranteed to have the test performed and analyzed by medical professionals.

What’s more, with in-person lab tests, you can get accurate results in the most efficient and quickest way possible! 

All you need to do is to set your desired time and date, take the test, and you’re good to go!

Bottom line

Early research indicates that rapid antigen testing is only accurate a few days after symptoms appear.

The most efficient way to determine whether you have COVID-19 is either through an in-person lab test or an at-home PCR testing kit. 

Experts advise everyone to take the following actions to help curb the disease’s spread in the community:

  • Keep your vaccination and boosters up to date
  • Before going to social occasions, get tested for COVID-19
  • Continue to use face masks in public places, both outdoors and indoors 
  • Sanitize your hands, disinfect high-touch surfaces, and follow other safe hygiene practices

Quarantine and isolate whenever you exhibit symptoms or someone you’ve been in close contact with tests positive for the virus.

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