Answering your questions about Rapid Antigen Testing

Rapid Antigen Testing

Rapid Antigen Testing is a significant tool used throughout the world and in increasing demand. It can and is a significant part of many workplaces’ health and safety vigilance - but what is Rapid Antigen Testing? What does it involve? Why should I care? On this page, Inscience tries to answer your questions and help you determine if you want or need to use RATs. If you still have any questions or concerns after reading this page, then please get in touch.

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So, what is Rapid Antigen Testing?

  • Rapid = It is quick and simple, hence the term 'rapid' 
  • Antigen = It detects the COVID live antigen, (the infectious part) that indicates SARS-CoV-2 infectious state 
  • Test = a way of determining or analysing something

Otherwise referred or abbreviated to 'Covid 19 RAT' and often referred to in other countries as a 'lateral flow test'.

The Roche SD Biosensor test detects the inner part of the CoVID-19 virus live antigen referred to as the nucleocapsid. This can provide some advantages over others that may target the spike proteins on the outside of the virus. RAT is an extremely effective, specific, and sensitive way of providing  surveillance of your workplace for those that may be infectious and a risk to infecting others and your business continuity.

Can’t I just get tested for free at the pharmacy, community testing centre or my doctors?

Yes, PCR testing is available through your nearest community testing centre and other options however many feel frustrated by the 24 hours plus wait for an answer, long waits and even the deep nasal sampling. PCR is a more sensitive test providing a wider detection time – It can be prone to over estimation detecting fragments of dead virus from past infection.

The RAPID test is a quicker option - a RAT test can detect the virus in a matter of minutes, so action can be taken much more quickly to avoid onward spread. RAT is only available free for unvaccinated people at a participating pharmacy. Any person with symptoms or a known close contact should immediately be PCR tested and home isolate.

So, do I have to send employees somewhere to get a RAT test?

No, that is the beauty of Rapid Antigen Testing - it can be done on-site in a matter of minutes, meaning minimum disruption to a working day or productivity.

So how does this type of test work?

Some more good news here - Rapid Antigen Testing means that collecting a sample is much more comfortable than other COVID tests. A nasal swab is only inserted inside the nostril (not all the way up like standard COVID testing). The specimen is recommended to be self-collected under supervision, meaning that the person being tested collects their own sample with a qualified tester in the room to ensure that the correct procedure has been followed. As the person being tested is in control of the collection, it's much less nerve wracking than having someone else do it. Once the swab has been taken, it can be tested on site with the results available 15 minutes not hours or days. Rapid Antigen Test - easy and comfortable!

How can Inscience help me?

The Ministry of Health and Medsafe have a list of approved rapid antigen tests and Inscience supply can distribute, support, and deliver the Roche SD Biosensor rapid antigen tests from that short list of approved products. We always pride ourselves on supplying and supporting the best performing, most appropriate and compliant rapid tests. We have been supporting Workplace Health and Safety medicolegal testing for over 16 years. The Director General of Health has confirmed that approved companies which are able to deliver 'high quality, safe and appropriate rapid antigen screening for COVID-19 in non-clinical and clinical settings' will be part of the ongoing COVID-19 protection framework. Inscience has 3 options for the RAT test:

  1. we have a nationwide network of qualified testers who can come to your workplace to conduct tests,
  2. we can train members of your own staff to administer and read the test themselves,
  3. or - if you already have a health professional or qualified person or people on staff - you can buy the testing kits directly from us.

So, as well as you coming to our workplace to run Rapid Antigen tests, you can also train our people to administer and interpret the tests?

That is right. We offer easily accessed and appropriate FREE ONLINE training, supported by one on one or group Zoom tutorials or assessments. We can also 'Train the trainer'.

Why should we use your services?

Inscience are experts at distributing and fully supporting rapid onsite testing (we have been using onsite immunoassay tests for over 16 years).  Rapid antigen testing for virus infection is not new and we have a subject matter expert to help in every aspect of your journey to self-help in mitigating COVID 19 risks in your workplace. Refer to other parts of our website for examples of our experience and expertise. You can read some examples of InScience's work here and here.

Are there different options of Rapid Antigen Tests?

Yes - Inscience offer the following (with more options coming soon):

  • The Roche Diagnostics RAT test ('SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Nasal'). This has already been approved for use by the Ministry of Health and is ready to go. If you want to put on your lab coat, here are some more details about the Roche Diagnostic Rapid Antigen Test, or you can find out more details about what's included in the Roche Rapid Antigen Test kit here.
  • Coming soon: The Innoscreen Rapid Diagnostic test. This is one of Australia’s leading COVID rapid antigen nasal tests, TGA (the equivalent of our Medsafe) approved, and Aussie made. It is not yet approved for use in New Zealand, but this will be coming soon. More details are available here.
  • Coming soon: ECO Pentest Nasal and or Saliva. This is quite a different sampler (more user friendly) and ultra-simple process. Inscience still recommend a nasal specimen sampling version of the ecopentest over the saliva version. This is because a saliva specimen is not as sensitive as there is less viral antigen in a saliva sample due to the constant refresh and dilution of antigen. This leads to less viral antigen present to trigger a positive RAT result. Ecopentest is one of Australia’s leading COVID rapid antigen nasal tests, TGA (the equivalent of our Medsafe) approved, and extremely popular. It is not yet approved for use in New Zealand, but this will be coming soon. More information available here.

So which RAT test should I use? Where can I get some advice?

Inscience is here to help and support your choices. Our focus is on providing solutions tailor-made to your individual needs. We offer help with PPE choices, Health and Safety RAT test policy if required, professional test service referrals, free online training, support and helpline and access to products at prices to meet the needs of your business or work sites anywhere in New Zealand.

How do I keep track of which staff members have been tested and when they should be assessed again?

We are also working with a software company to develop an electronic system to support the use of RAT tests in workplaces. This will allow employers to have oversight and employees to be able to carry around an electronic copy of their test results on their phone. We are hoping to get this up and running as soon as possible. This resource will incur an additional cost on top of the RATs. You can also buy our RAT testing log books here.

Ready to get your free consultation and quote? Get in touch today.