Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS AN ANTIGEN TEST?

The antigen test detects for certain proteins on the COVID-19 virus, which implies current viral infection. The sample collection of either a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab with an antigen test can produce results in the same day. Due to the speed of this test, the antigen test may be more practical to use for large numbers of people. Antigen testing has also been commonly used in the diagnosis of influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

WHY DO I NEED THIS TEST?

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have had COVID like symptoms recently. This test is also conducted in order to return to work or school.

WHAT TYPE OF SPECIMEN WILL BE COLLECTED FOR THIS TEST?

This test requires either a nasal or nasopharyngeal sample.

AM I REQUIRED TO FAST?

No, fasting is not required. There are no dietary or medicinal restrictions to take this test.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY LAB TEST RESULTS?

Results from the COVID-19 antigen test are ready in the same day.

WHAT IS PCR TEST?

The PCR test is much more sensitive in identifying an infection because it can amplify traces of the virus — in other words, even if you have a small amount of virus, it can detect it. So it can tell whether you're infected even a day or so after you develop what appear to be COVID-19 symptoms or typically, 4 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19.

IS THIS TEST APPROVED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA)?

No, but it has been granted FDA EUA authorization. During a public health emergency, the FDA can use its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to provide more timely access to critical medical products that may help during the emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available options.

According to the FDA “more flexibility was needed during a pandemic of this scale and speed, and incorporating feedback from the medical community, states and test developers, we have also provided regulatory flexibility for serological tests in an effort to provide laboratories and health care providers with early access to these tests with the understanding that the FDA had not reviewed or authorized (or “approved”) them, at least not initially, and these tests should not be used for diagnosing or excluding active SARS-CoV-2 infection. Specifically, last month, as part of our broader strategy, the FDA issued a policy explaining that FDA does not intend to object when developers of serological tests market or use their tests without prior FDA review where: 1) the tests are validated by the developer to determine that they are accurate and reliable, 2) notification of the developer’s validation is provided to FDA, and 3) the tests are labeled appropriately, including that they are not to be used as a sole basis for diagnosis.

The test you receive follows the above referenced FDA guidelines.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF I HAVE A POSITIVE TEST RESULT?

If you have a positive result for this test, it does indicate that the protein from the SARS-CoV-2 was detected and that you are considered to be infected with the virus and presumed to be contagious.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF I HAVE A NEGATIVE TEST RESULT?

If you have a negative result for this test, which means that the SAR-CoV-2 was not present in the specimen and it is likely you are not infected at the time of test. However, you can still become infected later.

There is a chance that the result might be a false-negative result, meaning that it is possible to be infected with the virus but still have a negative result. Depending on the situation a COVID-19 PCR test would be recommended to confirm a negative antigen test.

IF I AM INFECTED BUT DON’T HAVE SYMPTOMS, CAN I STILL SPREAD THE VIRUS?

Yes, some people who have been infected with the SAR-CoV-2 might not display any symptoms (Asymptomatic). However, they can still be contagious and spread the virus to other people.

WHAT IF I WANT TO DISCUSS THE RESULTS WITH A PHYSICIAN?

You can share your results with your healthcare provider.