What is a Rapid Test?
A rapid test is a medical diagnostic test that is quick and easy to perform. The operator should be able to read the package insert, follow the manufacturers instructions, and perform testing without need for clarification or intervention. Most rapid tests come as a cassette or cartridge and should yield a result in less than 30 minutes. They are suitable for in-home use, emergencies, point of care, or preliminary screening. A reliable rapid test will be "CLIA waived" and FDA approved.
Many rapid tests use a technique called “lateral flow immunoassay”. Lateral flow confirms the presence or absence of a target analyte, antibody, antigen, or pathogen.
Most test kits utilize two types of lateral flow methods, the sandwich method and the competitive method.
- The Sandwich method – A positive test is represented by the presence of a colored line at the test line position. This method is most commonly used and is what most people are familiar with.
- The Competitive method – A positive test is represented by the absence of a colored line at the test line position. Rarely used.
The most common type of commercially used rapid tests are pregnancy tests, blood glucose, HIV tests, Urine Dip, Drug Screen, and Flu or Strep tests.
Any questions on rapid or kit tests, feel free to contact us!