Countries have already opened their doors once again to tourists worldwide amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, strict compliance to their health and safety protocols remains an order everyone must follow, especially visitors. Traveling requires a negative result from the fit-to-fly COVID test.
Rapid antigen test for travel is one of the coronavirus tests approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). It ranks among 400 testing methods used by nations to detect individuals carrying SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Antigen test comes with both pros and cons that people who wish to travel abroad need to know. Continue reading this article to know its benefits and downsides.
For antigen test kits to pass WHO’s criteria, they should have at least 80 percent sensitivity and 97 percent specificity. If it passes these requirements, WHO and countries will give it an emergency use authorization (EUA).
Antigen testing is way faster than molecular testing in detecting if a person is a COVID-19 positive, as it only takes 15 to 30 minutes. Antigen test procedures do not even require specialized laboratory techniques like RT-PCR testing, making it less expensive than the latter. It is also proven effective in determining COVID positives in high-risk groups and high-congregate environments at once.
On the contrary, the antigen test is not available for affordable at-home usage. Thus, for people to avail it, they should visit hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies. Yet, it also increases their chances of getting COVID infected along the way.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported false-positive cases. Supporting FDA’s claim is a Cochrane systematic review of 22 antigen tests. The study found that sensitivity for each antigen testing kit varies from zero to 94 percent or an average of 56.2 percent.
False-negative results also occur. Such happens when a sample does not have sufficient viral protein capable of yielding a positive test. These circumstances make the antigen test less effective and less accurate in offering accurate interpretations.