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Rapid lateral flow testing can accurately detect the Covid-19 virus. Our at-home test kit is cheap, easy to use, and reliably helps stop the spread of the virus
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Rapid testing for COVID-19 has become a cornerstone of the UK's fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While early testing for the virus was carried out in the lab (PCR tests), which took time, lateral flow test kits for COVID 19 have enabled patients to have their tests analysed in the "field", meaning that results are available much more quickly. Lateral flow COVID-19 tests, also known as lateral flow immunochromatographic assays or rapid tests, are simple, non-technical or specialist devices that are intended to detect the presence of a COVID-19 in a liquid sample without the need for specialized and costly equipment. They deliver results quickly and the test can be conducted outside of a clinical environment, making them more convenient and accessible. At HandStations, we sell two different brands of COVID-19 lateral flow test kits—Healgen and Hughes Healthcare. These are two of the highest quality testing products available on the market and deliver results with the highest level of accuracy possible. Rapid COVID-19 lateral flow testing kits provide you with a quick result in as little as 15 to 30 minutes and are incredibly easy to use, with no special training being required. These COVID antigen tests provide crucial testing capacity in areas where laboratory testing is not available such as in schools, and where free testing is no longer available, such as to businesses. Each lateral flow test kit sold at HandStations comes with the test device, extraction buffer tube, buffer solution, sterile swab, and full instructions for use.
Our COVID-19 lateral flow antigen tests are approved by the MHRA.
Packaged in a compact box, we provide everything you need by post.
Step-by-step instructions guide you through the entire process.
Non-invasive swab testing means that it’s suitable for use on children.
Lateral flow tests cope well with high viral loads, helping diagnose infection.
Benefits of using a lateral flow covid test
One key benefit of rapid testing like this is faster decision making, which is crucial for a virus such as SARS-CoV-2 which spreads very quickly. Thanks to rapid COVID-19 antigen test kits, asymptomatic cases of the disease can be quickly identified, meaning that people go into self-isolation and stop spreading the virus sooner rather than later.
Lateral flow tests have played a key role in helping reduce unnecessary isolation for people with similar symptoms to those of Covid-19 but who don’t have the virus.
Lateral flow testing is also affordable, making the flow test kit suitable for persons or countries that may not have the resources to conduct PCR tests. Their portability and ease of use also mean they can be used by people who don’t have extensive medical knowledge or those who would like to test at home or in the workplace.
A lateral flow test home kit also has a short reaction time and the sample doesn’t need to be taken to the lab to be interpreted, meaning you’ll get your results in 5 to 20 minutes.
Additionally, the test only needs a small amount of sample, which you can obtain from the back of your throat or nose.
Also, lateral flow tests that are approved by the NHS go through rigorous evaluation, meaning they can accurately and reliably detect Covid-19 even among asymptomatic people.
Covid Lateral Flow Test
Although COVID-19 antigen testing was only available through NHS COVID-19 test sites, a recent decision by the UK Government means that they can now be acquired by private individuals who can use the kits on themselves or other consenting individuals (i.e., employees). At HandStations, we stock a selection of Healgen testing kits that test for active infections (antigen tests) and previous infections (antibody tests).
Lateral flow test to buy
All rapid COVID-19 test kits sold by HandStations come with full, clear instructions and have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).
What's the difference between an antibody and antigen test?
It's important to know the difference between antibody and antigen tests. In short, antibody tests look for PREVIOUS infections while antigen tests look for ACTIVE/CURRENT infections. An antibody test looks for COVID-19 antibodies in a blood plasma sample. Antibodies are produced by the immune system when a pathogen (i.e., the SARS-CoV-2 virus) enters the body. The presence of antibodies therefore indicates that the virus has already been in the patient's body and thus they have previously been infected. On the other hand, antigen tests look for COVID-19 antigens. These are commonly found in the back of the throat when an infection has taken hold, which is why COVID testing is done via a nasal and throat swab. Antigens are foreign bodies that induce an immune response, so the presence of COVID-19 antigens indicates that there is an active infection in the patient.
Can I self-test using COVID-19 antigen test kits?
Yes, the government has given the green light for private individuals to test themselves with privately purchased COVID-19 lateral flow antigen tests. This means that antigen tests be used by any member of the public without any prior testing experience, in their own home or another community setting such as a place of work. If you do decide to self-test, it's vital to follow the instructions that are included with your testing kit. Doing so ensures that you carry out the test correctly, avoid causing yourself harm, and end up with an accurate and reliable result, which keeps other people safe. The last thing you want is a false negative.
Are lateral flow tests accurate?
Lateral flow COVID-19 tests are not as sensitive as PCR tests; they are a suitable and convenient alternative way for people to self-test and detect undiagnosed asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. This means that they are not as accurate as clinical PCR tests. However, they are a good indicator and it’s good practice to regularly self-test just in case of asymptomatic infection.
What should I do if my result is positive for Covid-19?
If your test result is positive, this means that it's likely that you had COVID-19 when the test was done. You must immediately self-isolate and keep self-isolating until you're no longer infectious (minimum 10 days). Anyone you live with must also self-isolate.Other ways to take care of yourself and others include:
Alert other people you came in close contact with in the past two days before testing positive and let them know you tested positive for COVID-19 so that they can also get tested.
Take care of yourself by eating a balanced diet, getting enough rest and staying hydrated.
Keep in touch with your doctor and call for medical care in case you experience emergency warning symptoms such as trouble breathing, inability to walk, pale or blue coloured lips, skin or nail beds, and persistent chest pains.
Avoid public places and don’t use taxis or any other public transportation means. Always wear a well-fitting mask if you must be around people.
What should I do if my Covid test result is negative?
A negative test result means that the test didn't find any signs of a COVID-19 infection. It's not typically necessary to isolate if you've had a negative result, but this depends if anyone you live or have come into contact with has had a positive test result. You should continue to keep following current government guidance such as social distancing and wearing masks.
What should I do if my result is void?
A void/inconclusive test result means that it was not possible for your test to say whether or not you had COVID-19 when the test was carried out. This usually happens when a test isn't completed properly. If this happens, you should carry out another test as soon as possible.
Should I use an antigen test if I have symptoms?
No, if you've got COVID-19 symptoms you must immediately self-isolate and contact NHS 119. They will be able to advise you on how to get tested.
If you experience symptoms that are similar to COVID-19 such as fatigue, fever, loss of taste or smell, or muscle ache, you can buy a lateral flow test Covid kit for at-home use. Similarly, if you’ve been exposed to someone with Covid-19 you can still do home antigen testing.
Rapid antigen tests are more accurate when used on people showing Covid-19 symptoms. They also perform better among people who have been in contact with those who have tested positive for COVID-19.
However, ensure you buy lateral flow test Covid from reliable providers, and you also properly handle and accurately apply the test to get accurate results. In case you experience an inconclusive lateral flow test, or you aren’t satisfied with the results, you can always get a PCR test done.
What will my result look like?
Interpreting your COVID-19 lateral flow antigen test is easy with both the Healgen and Hughes Healthcare test kits. Around 15 to 30 minutes after taking the test, one of the following results will be displayed in the testing cassette window: POSITIVE: If both the C (control) and T (test) lines show a red line, the result is positive. This is the case even if the line is very faint. NEGATIVE: If the C line shows a red line but there is no red line on the T line, the result is negative. INVALID: If there is no red line next to C, the test result is invalid. This is the case even if there is a red line next to T. If you get an invalid result, it is important to take a fresh test.
How should I store COVID-19 antigen tests?
Your testing kits can be stored at room temperature. They can also be stored in the fridge between two and 30 degrees Celsius. Testing kits cannot be frozen and they should be allowed to return to room temperature before use. While in storage, individual testing kits should remain sealed and not used beyond their expiration date.
How accurate are tests?
This depends on the test. Our Hughes Healthcare Rapid Antigen Test is the most accurate one we sell with a sensitivity of 97.1% and a specificity of 99.5%. Sensitivity relates to the false-negative rate and is displayed as a percentage. This means that out of 100 positive patients, the test detects 97 of them. In other words, it delivers three false negatives (i.e., where somebody is positive, but the test fails to detect the positive case). Specificity relates to the false positive rate and is again displayed as a percentage. This means that out of 100 negative patients, the test detects this correctly 99.5% of the time. In other words, it delivers false positives only 0.5% of the time (i.e., 1 in 200 people will get a false positive).
As you are probably aware, the lateral flow test is one of two types of “mainstream” test that is currently used to detect COVID-19 cases, the other being the PCR test. A PCR test is a very different type of test that detects the coronavirus’ RNA. These tests are normally carried out in a clinical environment using a swab of the nose and throat before being sent to a laboratory for analysis. PCR tests are highly accurate and can detect very tiny amounts of RNA, meaning that they are highly sensitive and consequently are best used when a current infection is suspected. Patients that are positive for COVID-19 usually start to show a positive PCR test result a day or two before the onset of symptoms and will continue to test positive for some time afterwards. This means that PCR testing is most suitable for people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Anybody with COVID-19 symptoms should contact the NHS by calling 119 to arrange a PCR test. In most other cases (except for when you’re travelling to a country that requires a negative PCR test, for instance) a lateral flow test is the most suitable option and is the go-to standard for asymptomatic testing. If you test positive by using a lateral flow device, you should call NHS 119 to arrange a confirmatory PCR test.
Lateral flow test to buy
Taking a rapid flow test is very simple, especially if you use a device such as the Hughes Healthcare Rapid Antigen Test which doesn’t require the swab to be inserted far into the nostril.
Before taking the test:
Read the test kit’s instructions carefully.
Wash your hands with soap and water or use sanitiser.
Place all the items out on a clean surface in front of you.
If not pre-filled, fill your testing tube with the buffer solution provided.
Place the tube in the tube holder.
Wash your hands again.
Taking the swab (nose only):
Put the swab inside your nose at least 2 cm up and rotate for 10 seconds.
Taking the swab (throat and nose):
Open your mouth wide and rub the swab over your tonsils.
Avoid touching your teeth, tongue, and gums with the swab.
Put the swab inside your nose at least 2 cm up and rotate for 10 seconds.
Completing the test:
Place the end of the swab into the tube so that it is submerged in buffer solution.
Squeeze the tube so that the liquid goes fully onto the testing swab.
While squeezing the tube, pull the swab out and close the tube’s cap.
Place two drops of the solution onto the testing cassette.
Wait 15 to 30 minutes and interpret the result given.
Report your result, even if it’s negative.
Where can I buy lateral flow tests?
At HandStations, we stock a wide range of COVID-19 lateral flow test kits. This includes the Hughes Healthcare Rapid Antigen Test Kit (considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19 lateral flow testing), Flowflex Covid Test and the Healgen rapid covid-19 antigen self-test. These can be used in both private and commercial settings to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. Both test kits are approved for public use by both the UK government and Public Health England. Each testing kit contains everything that is needed to carry out the test, including clear instructions. Results are available in just 15 minutes, providing quick and clear testing so that decisive action can be taken.