At-home testing is a convenient alternative to the long lines and supply shortages at community testing centers. Today, we’re here to clear up some misconceptions about whether in-home Covid-19 tests are accurate or not.
Are Covid-19 at-home tests accurate?
In short, yes. All tests must meet FDA accuracy benchmarks in order to adhere to Emergency Use Authorization requirements, so every test will fall within this threshold. That said, the exact accuracy of at-home tests are reported by the manufacturer of the kit. You can find specific information about the kit you want to purchase on the manufacturer’s website.
What is the most reliable Covid-19 test?
In general, the RT-PCR test is considered the most accurate type of Covid-19 test. This test is most commonly administered as a nasal swab, although it can be administered as a saliva sample or cheek swab. This test is more accurate than others because of the way it detects the presence of the virus.
The RT-PCR test looks for the RNA of SARS-CoV-2. When the test is processed at the lab, the RNA is converted into DNA that is amplified so the sample can be measured using fluorescent dye. If the DNA is present, the dye will react, and the test will be positive.
If you do not have Covid-19, there will be no RNA in your sample. As a result, there will be no DNA that can be amplified, and thus no reaction from the dye.
Can a Covid-19 test be accurate before symptoms appear?
Like other viruses, Covid-19 has an incubation period before symptoms develop. Can a Covid-19 test be accurate during the incubation period?
That depends. Covid-19 tests are accurate as long as there is enough viral load in your body for the sensitivity of a given test to detect. It’s very possible to receive a false negative if you are tested too early after you are exposed to Covid-19.
It’s generally recommended to self-isolate and wait several days before you get tested. You’ll want to consult with your physician for guidance.
Can a Covid test be correct if you don’t have symptoms at all?
Unlike colds and the flu, where everyone shows symptoms, you can have Covid-19 without having symptoms. In other words, you can be an ‘asymptomatic carrier’.
How does this impact your test results? In short, it doesn’t as long as you aren’t getting tested too early after exposure. You can still test positive for Covid-19 even if you never show symptoms since the virus is still present and active in your body.
What’s the false positive rate of at-home tests?
False positives and false negatives are incorrect test results. Much like the accuracy rate of DIY kits, manufacturers also self-report the false positive and false negative rates on their tests. You’ll want to check on the manufacturer’s website for more information.
Additionally, these rates will vary depending on the type of test used, since rapid antigen tests are considered less accurate than RT-PCR tests. The rate can also be impacted by whether the test was self-administered correctly.
Hassle-Free In-home Covid-19 Tests With Drip Hydration
If you want the convenience of in-home tests without the worry or hassle of administering and shipping the test to a lab yourself, Drip Hydration can help. We bring your appointment directly to you in the comfort of your home. Your test is administered by one of our registered nurses.
Depending on the type of test you choose, your results can be available in as little as 15 minutes. If you do test positive for Covid-19, our nurse will provide further guidance as to your next steps. Give us a call if you have any questions or book an appointment using the link below.