What is a Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) Test?

If you need proof that you’re fit to travel and the country you’re travelling to allows rapid Antigen tests – Antigenic test as evidence you don’t need to wait any longer than you have to to get results and fly as they are immediate. If you’re travelling for work, you may not have the luxury of waiting days to get proof that you’re COVID-free.


Fortunately, you have options when it comes to COVID-19 testing. Some approved rapid result tests will have you cleared for travel quickly so you can carry on with your work or holiday plans.


Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) tests provide accurate results more quickly than other forms of COVID testing. Here’s what you need to know about Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) tests and how you can obtain one for yourself or your family.


What is a Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) Test?

A Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) test is a fast and effective way to test for COVID-19. It is used to test people with no symptoms of COVID to rule out infection.


Because an estimated 1-in-3 people who have COVID have no outward symptoms, these rapid tests can help reduce the spread of COVID by identifying infection in those who aren’t showing any signs of the illness.


A positive result on a rapid antigen test means you should self-isolate immediately to avoid spreading the disease. You must also retest using a PCR test to confirm the positive diagnosis. However, a negative Rapid Antigen test means you are fit to travel as you are not at risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.


How is a Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) test administered?

The Rapid Antigen test is very quick and easy to administer. Using a long cotton swab, samples are taken from your nasal passage.


Swabs from your nose are inserted into a vial of buffer liquid. A few drops of the liquid are then placed on an absorbent pad on the test device. Much like a pregnancy test, the device has a control window and a test result window. A change in colour on the test result window indicates a positive COVID test result.


The test gives results in as little as 15 minutes, so you’ll quickly know if you are clear to travel. A negative test means you can get your fit-to-fly certificate, but if you test positive, you’ll have to take a PCR test to confirm the results.


Anyone who has no COVID symptoms may take a Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) test. If you have symptoms of COVID, you’ll need to take a different test.


Rapid Antigen Testing vs. PCR Testing

Rapid Antigen testing is beneficial for preventing the spread of COVID because it can detect the presence of proteins from the COVID virus even when a person has no symptoms. In Rapid Antigen testing, a positive result indicates a likely enough viral load of these proteins to make a person infectious.


If your Rapid Antigen test results are positive, you will need to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction test<, or PCR test, for COVID-19 to confirm the positive result. PCR tests are considered the ‘gold standard’ for COVID testing as they are more sensitive to the COVID virus, but they are more expensive than other COVID tests.


If you suspect you have COVID, it’s advised that you take a PCR test instead of a Rapid Antigen test. Because Rapid Antigen tests usually only detect infectious rates of viral load, they are more helpful in catching the virus before your symptoms appear, if they appear at all.


Both types of test have a vital role in stopping the spread of COVID, but the one you use will depend on your circumstances at the time of testing.


Why Quick Results Matter


As more travel restrictions are lifted in the UK and abroad, individuals and families travelling for business and pleasure need to ensure that they are not unknowingly spreading COVID.


Rapid Antigen (Lateral Flow) testing can help spot asymptomatic individuals before they have a chance to risk infecting others. Quick testing and speedy results mean travellers won’t have to wait for ages for fit-to-fly certificates, and they can safely travel to their destination.


All travellers visiting the UK must have proof of a negative COVID test. This test must be administered three days before you enter the UK. So if you plan on leaving the UK and returning within three days, you’ll need to get tested before you depart.


Rapid Antigen tests make this sort of short-term travel much easier because you typically get the results in less than15 minutes. You can easily meet the guidelines for COVID-safe travel stress free.


Get Peace of Mind Quickly


Like it or not, the way we travel has been altered, at least for the foreseeable future, by the COVID-19 virus. But life can’t stand still, and people still need to travel for both business and pleasure. MSI Clinics ensure that you meet the guidelines issued by individual countries and travel safely with our reliable, speedy COVID-19 testing.


Whether you need a test for yourself, your family, or your employees, we can help. Our clinics are UKAS accredited and government listed, and offer rapid test results in two convenient London locations. We offer discreet, highly professional service seven days a week.

Schedule your Rapid Antigen Test today, and get cleared for your Fit to Fly certification in as little as 15 minutes. Start your journey.