The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate communities throughout Australia. Mass hospitalisations, long-term illnesses, and extended lockdowns to curb outbreaks are breaking families and businesses of every description. To keep the spread under control, we need fast identification and diagnosis of the COVID-19 virus in those who are infected. Unfortunately, it can take several days for symptoms to begin showing, and even longer for those experiencing them to get tested, meaning the risk of community infection within the time between is incredibly high.
Typical testing revolves swabs of your nose, throat and their respective secretions being sent to a laboratory for analysis in search of genetic material (nucleic acids) matching the COVID-19 virus. While effective, this can take several hours to days in order to return results. Fortunately, to make the process of screening masses of people suspected of having COVID-19 faster and simpler, rapid antigen test kits are being introduced. In the hands of trained healthcare professionals, tests can be conducted with their results available minutes later, drastically reducing exposure times within the community.
What Is a Rapid Antigen Test Kit?
Rapid antigen test kits are designed to be applied at the initial point of care, detecting the COVID-19 virus within the acute period infection, which ranges within the first week of symptoms manifesting themselves. By detecting proteins found with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the technical term for the COVID-19 virus), operators can receive results from a test in under 30 minutes, with the entire process conducted outside of a laboratory environment. Positive tests can therefore be referred on to laboratory scientists to have the diagnosis. This naturally extends to lower case numbers, and continued openings for businesses as hospitalisations and severe cases reduce.
Who Can Use Rapid Antigen Test Kits?
Given the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that all testing and analysis of results is handled by qualified persons, to prevent harmful repercussions on the wider community. Rapid antigen test kitscan therefore only be utilised by a trained healthcare worker, or operated by someone under the direct supervision of a trained healthcare worker.
With that being said, many public areas and organisations, such as private industries in freight and logistics, are enquiring whether they can utilise rapid antigen test kits, in order to bring people back together. These businesses and entities can purchase rapid antigen tests to be used in this manner, under the direct stipulation they employ or engage with a trained healthcare practitioner to operate the tests and results.
Training to Use Rapid Antigen Tests
The logic behind training is fairly evident – there is too much risk for error or manipulation if the general public could operate these devices on themselves or those around them. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has strict supply guidelines advising anyone seeking to perform these tests be well practiced in the correct usage of the devices, including specimen collection and results interpretation. All training is required to be completed before any usage of the test kits.
Correct Actions Following the Results from Rapid Antigen Tests
Given the expedited results received from rapid antigen tests, the public does not always know how best to act after receiving their results. Should they receive a negative test, it is important to remember that this does not completely exclude them from potentially transmitting the COVID-19 virus to others, so face masks, physical distancing and proper hygiene should continue to be practiced. If a positive test is returned, then a confirmation test will be required from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted within a laboratory setting by a trained professional.
Team Medical Supplies are Approved Suppliers of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing Kits
Here at Team Medical Supplies, we only sell the highest quality products and that’s the same for COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits. For further information about these devices and their usage, please contact us today by calling 1300 22 44 50, or enter your information on our online enquiry form.