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Rapid Antigen Tests Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about rapid antigen test kits in Australia? We're here to help! Our page features a comprehensive FAQ section where you can find answers to all your questions about rapid antigen tests. Want to know how accurate they are? Interested in whether they're suitable for home use? We've got all the information you need. If you still have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out! You can email us at hello@aussiepharmadirect.com.au or call us at 1300 783 113. We're always happy to assist!

What types of antigen test kits are available at Aussie Pharma Direct?

Aussie Pharma Direct offers a variety of rapid antigen test kits to suit your needs. While the specific brands we carry may change, we typically stock options that utilise both nasal swabs and saliva samples for testing. So, you can choose the testing method that you find most comfortable and convenient.

What is a rapid antigen test?

A rapid antigen test is a diagnostic test that detects the presence of specific viral proteins, or antigens, in a person's sample, typically collected from a nasal or throat swab. Primarily employed for the detection of COVID-19, rapid antigen tests are also utilised for identifying other infectious diseases. It's common to find antigen test kits that specifically target either COVID-19 or Influenza A/B, as these two diseases often share similar symptoms. These tests offer a quick and effective means of diagnosis, aiding in timely and accurate healthcare decisions.

Can rapid antigen test detect flu?

Yes, certain rapid antigen tests can be designed to detect influenza in addition to COVID-19. The Fanttest 3-in-1 combination test kit, Sonictec Influenza A/B & COVID-19 Combo Rapid Test, TouchBio Combo COVID-19 & Influenza A/B Test, and HA Tech combo tests are examples of such tests (available at Aussie Pharma Direct). This type of COVID and flu test kit is designed to detect antigens associated with COVID-19, influenza A, and influenza B in a single test.

When is the best time to do a test?

The best time to do a rapid antigen test depends on the specific virus you're testing for.

  • For COVID-19, it's advisable to test within 7 days of symptom onset to ensure accurate results.
  • For Influenza A/B or RSV, it's recommended to test within 4 days of symptom onset.

Testing during these time frames can help ensure the most accurate results. If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for any of these viruses, it's also advisable to test yourself even if you are not showing symptoms. Always follow the instructions provided with your test kit for the best results.

How do I conduct a rapid antigen test?

Preparation for procedure

1. Gently blow your nose into a tissue to remove excess mucus.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitiser before handling the package. Unpack the test components. DO NOT DISCARD the box until you have made sure that you have all components required. DO NOT USE if they are expired or damage.

Sample Collection

1. Open the sealed pouch containing the test cassette and remove it.

2. Place the test cassette on a clean and flat surface. DO NOT TOUCH the test window.

3. Place the extraction tube on a secure place to avoid spilling of buffer (use the hole on the box or tube stand if provided with your kit). Unscrew the blue cap. Keep the cap aside, DO NOT DISCARD.

4. Open the sealed pouch containing the swab and hold it by the handle.

5. Gently insert the swab into the nostril, parallel to the palate, until resistance is met (about 2 cm or until you feel slight resistance).

6. Rotate the swab around the inside of the nostril at least 5 times for a total of 15 seconds. Remove the swab then repeat the process with the other nostril.

7. Place the swab into the extraction tube. Squeeze the lower part of the tube against the swab tip inside the tube 15 times.

8. Squeeze the sides of the extraction tube to release the solution and transfer it to the sample well of the test cassette.

9. Start timer and read results at 15 minutes. Wait for the coloured lines to appear on the test cassette, indicating the test result.

10. After reading the result, place all the used components in the plastic bag provided and dispose into a general waste bin.

How accurate are rapid antigen tests?

Rapid antigen tests are generally considered to be less accurate than PCR tests, but their accuracy depends on various factors such as the time from infection, viral load, and the quality of the test kit. At Aussie Pharma Direct, we distribute rapid antigen tests for RSV, COVID-19 and Influenza A/B testing. The rapid antigen test accuracy are as below:

Fanttest Influenza A/B Tests:

For COVID-19

The test offers 92.5% sensitivity and 98.33% specificity for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

For Influenza A

The test offers 89.12% sensitivity and 98.33% specificity for the COVID-19/Influenza A&B Antigen Test Kit.

For Influenza B

The test offers 89.86% sensitivity and 98.18% specificity for the COVID-19/Influenza A&B Antigen Test Kit.

Sonictec:

For COVID-19

The test offers 94.44% sensitivity and 99.9% specificity (for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2). 

For Influenza A/B

The test offers 93.33% sensitivity and 99.9% specificity (for Influenza A&B).

HA Tech:

For COVID-19

The COVID-19 test offers 97.95% sensitivity and 100% specificity for the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). 

For Influenza A

The flu test offers 97.83% sensitivity and 100% specificity for Influenza A.

For Influenza B

The flu test offers 96% sensitivity and 100% specificity for Influenza B.

RSV

The RSV test offers 97.87% sensitivity and 100% specificity for RSV.

JusCheck:

The COVID-19 test offers 90.1% sensitivity and 99.3% specificity for the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

TouchBio:

For COVID-19

The COVID-19 test offers 98.85% sensitivity and 99.19% specificity for the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). 

For Influenza A

The flu test offers 98.12% sensitivity and 99.07% specificity for Influenza A.

For Influenza B

The flu test offers 98.33% sensitivity and 99.02% specificity for Influenza B.

For RSV

The RSV test offers 98.65% sensitivity and 99.57% specificity for RSV.

What is the difference between PCR test and rapid antigen test?

The main difference between PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests and rapid antigen tests is the method used to detect the virus.

PCR tests detect the presence of viral RNA, which is the genetic material of the virus. The test involves amplifying and detecting viral RNA using a laboratory-based technique, which can take several hours to days to produce results.

On the other hand, rapid antigen tests detect the presence of viral antigens, which are proteins on the surface of the virus. Rapid antigen tests are designed to provide results quickly, typically within 15 minutes, and can be performed at the point of care, such as in a doctor's office, a pharmacy, or at home. However, rapid antigen tests may not be as sensitive as PCR tests and may produce false-negative results, particularly if the viral load is low.

How long do the results take to show?

To interpret the results, read results at 15 minutes. Results should not be read after 20 minutes. 

Why is my positive COVID line so dark?

A dark positive line on your COVID-19 test indicates a high viral load in your sample. This means that there is a significant amount of the virus present, which can be an indication of a more active infection.

Does a faint line mean COVID is going away?

A faint line on your COVID-19 test does not necessarily mean that the infection is going away. It indicates that the virus is present in your sample, but in a lower concentration. The faintness of the line can be influenced by various factors such as the stage of the infection, the quality of the sample, and the sensitivity of the test. Regardless of the line's intensity, if you test positive, you should follow public health guidelines, and continue to monitor your symptoms.

Are these rapid antigen tests TGA approved? 

Yes, our RATs are all TGA approved.

Sonictec COVID-19 / Influenza A&B Antigen Test Kit ARTG 336146

Fanttest COVID-19 / Influenza A&B Antigen Test Kit (China-made) ARTG 395590

HA Tech Rapid Antigen Test Kits ARTG 406813

JusCheck COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit (China-made) ARTG 374574

TouchBio RSV, Flu A/B, COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit (Turkey-made) ARTG 408459

TouchBio COVID-19 & Flu A/B Test (Turkey-made) ARTG 395591

How do I dispose of my test?

It is important to dispose of your rapid antigen test kit properly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. After using the test, place all used items in the biohazard bag that is usually provided together with the kit. Make sure to seal the bag properly to reduce the risk of contamination. In most cases, you can dispose of medical waste in the regular trash, but be sure to check with your local health department or waste management agency to confirm.

What do my results mean if I'm doing COVID-19 testing?

NEGATIVE RESULT:

Only one coloured line appears in the control region. Only one purple line only next to “C” indicates negative

POSITIVE RESULT:

Two coloured lines appear in control region and test region. One purple line next to “C” and one purple line next to “T” Indicates COVID-19 positive. **The colour intensity in the test region “T” may be faint. Any pink/purple line visible next to “T” is positive. Anyone who tests positive should refer to your local State or Territory Health Department for guidance on confirmation testing if necessary. If you are unwell, seek medical assistance.

INVALID RESULT:

No coloured line appears in the control region. No purple line next to “C” indicates invalid

Will rapid antigen test be positive after recovery?

Rapid antigen tests can sometimes remain positive for a short period after you have recovered from COVID-19, RSV, or Influenza A/B. This is because the tests detect viral proteins, which can still be present in your body even after the active infection has resolved. However, the likelihood of a positive result decreases as more time passes since recovery. It's important to note that a positive test result does not necessarily mean you are still contagious. If you have questions about your specific situation, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice.

How do I store the rapid antigen tests?

It is recommended for the rapid antigen tests to be stored in a cool, dry place between 2 - 30°C.

Do rapid antigen tests expire?

Yes, rapid antigen tests can have expiration dates. To determine the expiration date for rapid antigen tests purchased from Aussie Pharma Direct, it is crucial to check the information provided by the manufacturer on the packaging or in the product description on the product pages.

Why is my COVID-19 test invalid?

Several factors can contribute to your COVID-19 test being deemed invalid. Here are some common reasons:

  1. Improper Sample Collection: If the sample is not collected correctly, it can lead to an invalid result. Please follow the test kit's instructions precisely for accurate results.
  2. Expired Test Kit: Using an expired test kit can result in invalid results. Always check the expiration date on the packaging before conducting the test.
  3. Incorrect Storage: Storing the test kit improperly, such as exposure to extreme temperatures or humidity, can affect the integrity of the testing components and render the test invalid.
  4. Test Kit Damage: If the test kit is damaged or compromised, it may not function correctly, leading to unreliable results.
  5. Testing Too Early or Too Late: Conducting the test outside the recommended timeframe from symptom onset or potential exposure can impact its accuracy. Follow the guidelines provided with the test kit.
  6. Equipment Malfunction: In some cases, issues with the testing equipment or device can lead to invalid results. Ensure that the testing equipment is in good condition and operates correctly.

If you receive an invalid result, it's advisable to consult with healthcare professionals or the test provider for guidance on the next steps, which may include repeating the test with a new kit or seeking a different testing method.

How long will I test positive on a rapid test?

The duration for which you may test positive on a rapid antigen test can vary depending on the virus and individual factors. For COVID-19, you might test positive for several days to a few weeks after the initial onset of symptoms, as the test detects viral proteins that can linger even after recovery. For RSV and Influenza A/B, the positive test duration is generally shorter, often lasting up to a week after symptoms begin. However, the exact time frame can differ from person to person.

When should I test again after testing positive for COVID-19, RSV or Flu A/B?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, RSV, or Influenza A/B, follow these general guidelines for retesting:

COVID-19: It's usually recommended to retest after 5-7 days from your initial positive test, especially if your symptoms are improving or if you need to confirm a negative result for ending isolation or returning to work/school.

RSV and Influenza A/B: Retesting is often not necessary once you have tested positive and symptoms have started to improve. These viruses typically have a shorter duration, and you may no longer be contagious after 5-7 days from the onset of symptoms.

How do I know if I have flu or RSV?

Distinguishing between the flu and RSV can be challenging since both viruses share similar symptoms. Here are some key differences and steps to help you identify which illness you might have:

Flu (Influenza A/B): Symptoms typically include a sudden onset of high fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, and cough. Headaches and nasal congestion can also occur.

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus): Symptoms often start with a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. RSV is more common in young children and can lead to bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

To accurately determine whether you have the flu or RSV, it's best to get tested using the combo RSV rapid antigen test kits available on our website. 

For more detailed information on the symptoms and differences between the flu and RSV, read our blog: RSV vs. COVID-19 vs. Influenza: All You Need to Know.

Do I need a prescription to take a rapid antigen test?

No, in Australia, you do not need a prescription to take a rapid antigen test.

Will the nasal swab hurt?

The swab should not cause severe pain as it is not sharp. The sensation experienced during a nasal swab can vary from person to person. Some individuals may feel slight discomfort or tickling, while others may experience a brief sensation of pressure. If you feel pain, please stop the test and seek advice from a healthcare provider.

I have a nosebleed after swabbing my nose. What should I do?

In the unlikely event your nose starts bleeding, apply pressure to your nose until the bleeding stops and consult a healthcare professional. Do not insert the swab again.

Can I use components from different rapid antigen test kits with the others?

No, it is not recommended to mix or interchange components from different rapid antigen test kits. Each test kit is specifically designed and validated as a complete system, including the specific components and reagents provided. Mixing components from different kits can compromise the accuracy and reliability of the test results. It is important to use the components provided in a single test kit as instructed by the manufacturer to ensure accurate and valid results.

Can I use a rapid antigen test to determine if I can attend an event or travel?

In some cases, rapid antigen tests may be used to determine if an individual can attend an event or travel. However, it's important to note that the requirements and regulations for COVID-19 testing vary depending on the country or state, and the type of event or travel.

It's important to check with the event or travel organisers, as well as the relevant authorities, to determine the specific testing requirements and regulations.

Which strains of influenza does the test from Fanttest Antigen Test Kit covers?

They test for Influenza A and Influenza B

Are the RATs on Aussie Pharma Direct made in Australia?

The combo RSV, COVID-19, Influenza A&B Antigen Test Kits and COVID-19 test kits from Fanttest, Sonictec, TouchBio and JusCheck are currently not manufactured in Australia, but rest assured, these tests are ARTG listed and meet strict Australian standards.

Are rapid antigen tests covered by insurance?

In Australia, rapid antigen tests may not be routinely covered by insurance. However, coverage may vary depending on your specific insurance plan and provider. Some private health insurance policies may offer coverage for rapid antigen tests under certain circumstances, such as if they are deemed medically necessary by a healthcare professional. It's advisable to check with your insurance provider directly to determine if rapid antigen tests are covered and to understand any associated costs or requirements.

Can I claim the cost of rapid antigen tests on my taxes?

Yes, you can claim the cost of RATs on your taxes for tests used for work purposes only, based on specific criteria:

  • You need the test to see if you can go to work or keep working.
  • The test must be either a PCR test from a private clinic or a RAT listed with the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
  • You paid for the test yourself (not reimbursed by your employer).
  • You have receipts to prove the cost.

Who can claim:

  • Employees
  • Sole traders
  • Contractors

NOTE: It's always best to check with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website or a tax professional for the latest guidelines on claiming RATs.

How common is RSV, and who is most at risk of contracting it?

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common respiratory virus that primarily affects infants and young children, especially during the fall, winter, and early spring months. While RSV can cause mild symptoms resembling the common cold in healthy adults and older children, it poses a greater risk of severe illness for certain groups:

  • Infants under the age of 1, especially those born prematurely or with certain medical conditions, are at higher risk of severe RSV infection, which can lead to bronchiolitis and pneumonia requiring hospitalization.
  • Children under 2 years old, particularly those with underlying health conditions like chronic lung disease or congenital heart defects, are also more susceptible to severe RSV illness.
  • Older adults, especially those over 65, may experience more severe RSV symptoms, particularly if they have weakened immune systems or underlying health issues.
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems due to medical treatments or chronic medical conditions like asthma or heart disease are also at increased risk of complications from RSV infection.

Read more about RSV on our blog: What is RSV: Symptoms, Risks, Treatment, and Prevention

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