COVID-19 Rapid Antigen and Antibody Tests Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

How accurate are the tests?

There is no test that is listed as 100% accurate. The more sensitive COVID-19 tests do have higher accuracy percentages. However, test results are based on the population’s prevalence of disease. Those areas that have a low prevalence, have individuals that shed little virus, are asymptomatic, or have been in early or late stages of the illness may have lesser accuracy.

How quickly do I get results?

If a healthcare provider has to send the tests out to a laboratory, the results can be returned in anywhere from 3-5 days. FaStep® Covid-19 Point-of-care Antibody Test can supply a healthcare provider with the test results in as little as 15 minutes. CareStart COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test can be done at the point-of-care location and have results available for the patient in 10 minutes.

Can I take these tests at home?

No. Currently, all COVID-19 testing must be done at a point-of-care location, administered by a healthcare provider. This includes non-traditional locations such as group facilities, mobile units, and the larger outdoor areas that some states have set up.

Are these tests FDA approved?

A majority of the COVID-19 tests are not approved by the FDA, however, the manufacturers have to comply with rigorous standards for their products to be accepted under the EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) program. Only those COVID-19 tests that receive an EUA certified document are allowed to be used.

How much do these tests cost?

There is no charge to the patient for the COVID-19 tests. Under multiple federal Acts, patients will be 100% covered including those with private insurance, group/employer insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and the uninsured.

Where do I go to get tested?

Each state has established specific locations for COVID-19 testing. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has created a website for lookup by state and a link to a separate website for local health departments that you can click by state for testing locations.

What does antigen mean?

An antigen is anything that enters the body that causes the immune system to create antibodies to fight against it. The substance is not recognized by the body and it considers it to be an invader. Antigens can be chemicals, viruses, bacteria, or even pollen.

What does antibody mean?

An antibody is the body’s response to fight off an antigen. Antibodies are a blood protein that bind with substances that the body doesn’t recognize and therefore assumes are a danger to the body. Antibody’s are part of the body’s immune system.

Do I still need to get tested if I have had the vaccine?

Possibly. COVID-19 vaccines are administered in 2 doses, often months apart. During the waiting period an individual can get the COVID-19 virus and should be tested if they become symptomatic or have been exposed to the virus. It can take from 1-3 weeks for the vaccine to allow the body to create antibodies so even after the second vaccine dose a patient could get COVID-19 in the interim and should get tested if they become symptomatic or have been exposed to the virus.

Can I get COVID-19 even after I have both vaccine doses?

Yes. Not only can someone get COVID-19 in the interim between vaccine doses, but there is currently limited information regarding re-infection. Although rare, re-infection of COVID-19 is possible so everyone should take precautions by wearing masks and using social distancing.

Where do I buy antigen or antibody tests?

Only qualified members of the medical community can purchase antigen or antibody tests.

Can anyone get a rapid antigen/antibody test?

Yes. It’s best to confer with your healthcare provider as to specifics on asymptomatic, symptomatic, and/or potential exposure to COVID-19 for the recommended test.

What does EUA mean?

EUA stands for Emergency Use Authorization and is a mechanism established through the federal government to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures during public health emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic is such an emergency.

Do I need both antigen and antibody tests?

It is rare that both COVID-19 tests are recommended. If a patient has symptoms the antigen test is suggested. If the test is positive they can practice self-isolation and talk to their healthcare provider for treatment recommendations. If a patient believes they have had COVID-19, an antibody test will look to see if any antibodies are present, however, the antibody test should not be a method for diagnosis of the virus.

Will the current COVID-19 tests be accurate as there are new variants of the virus?

The current COVID-19 testing relies on the virus’ genetic code. The chance of any variant on COVID-19 evading tests is not considered to be likely.