Covid Antigen rapid testing
Included in the European Union common list of Covid-19 rapid Antigen tests, agreed by the Health Security Committee.
The MEXACARE Coronavirus Antigen Rapid Test is a rapid chromatographic immunoassay for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigens present in the human nasopharynx. One antigen (protein of COVID-19) is usually detectable in upper respiratory tract samples during the acute phase of infection. Positive results indicate the presence of viral antigens.
|Relative Sensitivity||95.65% (95 % CI*: 91.9 %-99.4%)|
|Relative Specificity||99.38% (95 % CI*: 98.5%->99.9%)|
|Accuracy||98.39% (95 % CI*: 97.2%-99.57%)|
When should I test with the MEXACARE COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test
Like the RT-PCR test which is currently the gold standard an antigen test is able to detect infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV 2 very early after infection.
In the earliest stages of the disease during the incubation period (according to the WHO an average of 5-6 days) and in the first 2-3 days after the onset of symptoms a test with the MEXACARE COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test is therefore recommended. Since the test detects protein components of the actual virus (so-called antigens) and not antibodies (the immune reaction of the human body against the virus). Acute infections with SARS-CoV-2 can be detected at this early stage.
The benefits of the MEXACARE COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test
• Very high sensitivity (>93 %) and specificity (>98 %)
• Fast availability of test results (approx. 15 minutes)
• No expensive laboratory equipment needed
• No additional reagents required
• All materials for direct on-site testing included (Point-of-Care)
• No need to transport samples to the laboratory
- C. Wedtner – Schwabing Hospital; C. Drosten – Charité; R. Wölfel – Microbiology of the German Armed Forces; RKI
- I. Eckert – University Hospital Geneva;
- Lauer, S. et al., 2020. The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application. Annals of Internal Medicine;
- National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, New Coronavirus Pneumonia Diagnosis and Treatment Program
Covid Testing FAQ’s
There are 3 main types of Covid tests available. These are split into 2 groups (1) laboratory tests (2) rapid tests.
The laboratory test or PCR test is mainly available through the National Healthcare provider (HSE or NHS) and can also be offered by some private healthcare providers. This is a very in-depth test and due to the need to return a sample to the laboratory can take several days for a result.
There are 2 rapid tests available which can be obtained more locally from your GP or other medical practitioner. These consist of the Antigen test and the Antibody test and can get you a result in 10-15 minutes.
You should get a test done if you are informed that you have been in contact with someone with Covid or have some symptoms which would indicate a possible infection. It is important not to get a test done too soon after encountering a Covid contact; leave 5-6 days or the testing will not detect the virus in your system; this is the incubation period a bit like measles. If you have symptoms the disease has progressed past the incubation period and testing can be done immediately.
Currently the main test used by Healthcare authorities is the PCR test and can be used to help detect an infection. The test can be done after 5-6 days incubation and in the early stages after the onset of symptoms. The PCR test is mirrored in time of use by the Antigen test for when it can be used to detect an infection. This test is gaining in popularity as it can be more accurate and give results in 10-15 minutes.
This is the best test to use 3-5 days after the onset of symptoms as the results are available in 10-15 minutes and it is the only test that can inform you where you are in the cycle of the disease. If you detect an IgM antibody only result you are in the 1st 7 days of symptoms and are infectious. If you detect an IgM and IgG antibody presence you are in the 7-14 day stage and still infectious. If you detect IgM only you are not infectious and ready to go back to work if you feel well enough.
Products that are made in Europe have higher manufacturer standards than other places in the world. For the individual tests, there are 2 main factors to look for when comparing tests. The Specificity (shows it only detects Covid and not other diseases like influenza etc) and the Sensitivity (shows how sensitive the test is to detect smaller quantities of the virus).
For the Mexacare products made in Germany the Antigen test has a Specificity of 99.38% and a Sensitivity of 95.65%. The Antibody test has Specificity of 97.26% and a Sensitivity of 94.55%
The Specificity and Sensitivity from different manufacturers tests all look similar so is there one better than another?
If you want to go more in depth you now need to look at the values obtained when comparing different Ct-values (Cycle threshold values). This will distinguish a quality test kit and will help you make the right decision. The Mexacare Antigen kit is 100% accurate for Ct values 20-30 but drops to 90.3% at 20-34 Ct values however this is usually 10-15% better than most of the well-known brands on the market which can range from 84-45%.