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What is a coronavirus antigen test?

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An antigen test is a diagnostic test that checks to see if you're infected with the coronavirus. The test looks for proteins (antigens) in a sample taken from your nose or throat. Antigen tests are faster than PCR tests, but they have a higher risk of false positives (meaning that they’re more likely to say you have the infection when you don’t). This may also be called a rapid test or rapid diagnostic test.

SOURCES:

CDC: "Clinical Questions About COVID-19: Questions and Answers," "Contact Tracing: Part of a Multipronged Approach to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic," "Coronavirus Disease 2019 Basics," "High Contagiousness and Rapid Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2," "Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)," "Personal Protective Equipment: Questions and Answers," "Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, Third Edition: An Introduction to Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics," "Test for Past Infection (Antibody Test)."

FDA.gov: "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Antigen Test to Help in the Rapid Detection of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 in Patients," "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Diagnostic Test Using At-Home Collection of Saliva Specimens."

Infection Disease & Health: "SARS-CoV-2: The Viral Shedding vs Infectivity Dilemma."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Coronavirus, Social and Physical Distancing and Self-Quarantine," "Coronavirus Treatment: What's in Development," "What is Coronavirus?"

Johns Hopkins University: "COVID-19 and the Long Road to Herd Immunity."

KidsHealth.org: "Coronavirus (COVID-19): Getting Tested at a Drive-Thru Testing Site."

MD Anderson Cancer Center: "7 Things to Know About COVID-19 Antibody Testing."

Merck Manual Consumer Version: "Overview of Viral Infections."

Michigan Health: "Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does it Mean and How Can You Help?"

Princeton University: "Chemists Pen Column to Warn Public of Viral Dose."

State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management: "State of Emergency."

Texas Department of State Health Services: "COVID-19 Testing: PCR Versus Serology Testing, Explained."

UChicago Medicine: "UChicago Medicine Doctors See 'Truly Remarkable' Success Using Ventilator Alternatives to Treat COVID-19."

World Health Organization: "Advice on the Use of Point-of-Care Immunodiagnostic Tests for COVID-19," "Modes of Transmission of Virus Causing COVID-19: Implications for IPC Precaution Recommendations," "Naming the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the Virus that Causes It."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 23, 2020

SOURCES:

CDC: "Clinical Questions About COVID-19: Questions and Answers," "Contact Tracing: Part of a Multipronged Approach to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic," "Coronavirus Disease 2019 Basics," "High Contagiousness and Rapid Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2," "Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)," "Personal Protective Equipment: Questions and Answers," "Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, Third Edition: An Introduction to Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics," "Test for Past Infection (Antibody Test)."

FDA.gov: "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Antigen Test to Help in the Rapid Detection of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 in Patients," "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Diagnostic Test Using At-Home Collection of Saliva Specimens."

Infection Disease & Health: "SARS-CoV-2: The Viral Shedding vs Infectivity Dilemma."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Coronavirus, Social and Physical Distancing and Self-Quarantine," "Coronavirus Treatment: What's in Development," "What is Coronavirus?"

Johns Hopkins University: "COVID-19 and the Long Road to Herd Immunity."

KidsHealth.org: "Coronavirus (COVID-19): Getting Tested at a Drive-Thru Testing Site."

MD Anderson Cancer Center: "7 Things to Know About COVID-19 Antibody Testing."

Merck Manual Consumer Version: "Overview of Viral Infections."

Michigan Health: "Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does it Mean and How Can You Help?"

Princeton University: "Chemists Pen Column to Warn Public of Viral Dose."

State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management: "State of Emergency."

Texas Department of State Health Services: "COVID-19 Testing: PCR Versus Serology Testing, Explained."

UChicago Medicine: "UChicago Medicine Doctors See 'Truly Remarkable' Success Using Ventilator Alternatives to Treat COVID-19."

World Health Organization: "Advice on the Use of Point-of-Care Immunodiagnostic Tests for COVID-19," "Modes of Transmission of Virus Causing COVID-19: Implications for IPC Precaution Recommendations," "Naming the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the Virus that Causes It."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 23, 2020

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