This test has just become available in Spain and has several advantages

  1. Rapid: It is as fast as the rapid antibody test, and faster than the PCR test. The results are ready from about 20 minutes of taking the sample.
  2. Early detection: it can detect Covid-19 as early as 2 day after contact with an infected person, or as soon as symptoms appear until 5 days after symptoms start.
  3. Cheaper than the PCR test. It costs 50 (55€ on weekends/out of hours) euros.
  4. Accurate: Sensitivity is 80-94% and Specificity is >97%  (this satisfies the requirements for intenational travel certification).
  5. It is taken by a nose or throat swab.


  1. The result becomes negative as the infection clears (after 5 days from the start of symptoms). This may be useful to indicate that a patient is no longer infectious, but it cannot indicate a previous infection (antibody tests are better for this). 

So, which test to have?

      1. To detect a previous infection the ELISA antibody test is the most accurate. A cheaper, faster, but less reliable alternative is the rapid antibody test.
      2. When a PCR test is required for travel or employment, or when cost and rapidity is not an issue the PCR is recommended. At present this is the most accurate method for diagnosing a current active infection
      3. When cost and speed are important the Antigen test is recommended. For example a child may be sent home from school, or an employee sent home from work with possible Covid-19 symptoms, or you have had contact with somebody who tested positive. This test can give a positive or negative result within minutes, allowing that person to either isolate or get back to school/work quickly.

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Categories: COVID-19
Post by: Atlantic Clinic on 29 Sep 2020