You’ve probably heard the terms ‘lateral flow test’ and ‘rapid antigen’ a lot over the past two years. While they sound like they’re different, both of these terms actually refer to the exact same test.

A rapid antigen test uses lateral-flow technology to test for covid-19. To do this, the test looks for proteins or antigens that are present in a person’s body when they are infected with covid-19.

So if you’ve been told you need a lateral flow or rapid antigen test and you’re worried you’re going to book the wrong type of test, you can rest easy. They are the exact same test.  

PCR Tests vs Lateral Flow/Rapid Antigen Tests

While lateral flow tests and rapid antigen tests are the same, they are different from covid-19 PCR tests. PCR tests are a more precise way to test for the presence of covid-19. To test for the presence of the virus, the sample is sent to a lab for analysis. Because this test is more precise, it can detect lower levels of the virus and in some cases, it can detect a past covid-19 infection.

This doesn’t mean lateral flow tests aren’t accurate. If you receive a positive lateral flow test result, you can trust that it’s correct. A certain amount of the virus needs to be present to trigger a positive result in a rapid antigen test so if you receive a negative result, you may still have covid-19. With a PCR test, you can trust both a positive and negative result.

However, many travel destinations and organizations now regularly accept a negative lateral flow or rapid antigen test. This is good news because you can get these results very quickly, sometimes in as little as 15 minutes.

Booking an Antigen Test in Northampton

If you need a lateral flow or rapid antigen test for travel in Northampton, contact West Chemist. In the safety and privacy of one of our consulting rooms, we can provide you with a fast and reliable rapid antigen test in the UK. For a same-day antigen test, contact us or visit our website to book online