Here's What To Know About Rapid COVID Tests and the BA.2 Variant

Video Credit: Wibbitz Top Stories
Published on April 27, 2022 - Duration: 01:31s

Here's What To Know About Rapid COVID Tests and the BA.2 Variant

Here's What To Know , About Rapid COVID Tests , and the BA.2 Variant.

Now that Omicron subvariant BA.2 is the dominant COVID strain in the U.S., you may have questions about the effectiveness of rapid tests.

Exerts say that rapid tests are no less accurate when it comes to detecting BA.2 than they are with other variants.

However, it may take longer for a BA.2 infection to be detectable by a rapid test.

There's usually a day or two delay between when you might test positive on a PCR versus when you might test positive on one of these at-home rapid antigen tests, Dr. Celine Gounder, Kaiser Health News, via NPR News.

But they do work to pick up an infection, and they should be used frequently, Dr. Celine Gounder, Kaiser Health News, via NPR News.

This means that between the time a person is infected and a rapid test reads positive for BA.2, a person can infect more people because they are unaware they have COVID.

One aspect about Omicron [including the BA.2 subvariant] is biologically, it likely is more infective than the other previous variants, Dr. Wilbur Lam, Biomedical Engineer, via NPR News.

So the test might not even have time to pick it up before it jumps from one person to another person, Dr. Wilbur Lam, Biomedical Engineer, via NPR News.

Experts seem to agree, however, that the accessibility of rapid tests and the speed at which they provide results should not be underestimated.

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Because these things are more available than PCR testing, each person, if they're able to get hold of them, can test themselves serially, Dr. Wilbur Lam, Biomedical Engineer, via NPR News.

That serial testing does end up mitigating the drawbacks of at least the accuracy of these types of tests compared to PCR tests, Dr. Wilbur Lam, Biomedical Engineer, via NPR News.

Experts recommend if you're sick but continue to test negative, daily activities are fine as long as you do not encounter people who are immunocompromised.

Experts also say that rapid tests are not necessarily inaccurate if used after their expiration date.

A test will not go 'bad' immediately after the expiration date but will gradually degrade over time, Dr. Wilbur Lam, Biomedical Engineer, via NPR News


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