How does a lateral flow antigen test work?

How does a lateral flow antigen test work?

How does a lateral flow antigen test work?

The lateral flow antigen test has been widely reported in the media and hailed as a valuable new tool in the fight against Covid-19, but how does it work?

The main advantage of the lateral flow antigen test is that it can be performed anywhere by an individual taking samples themselves. The lateral flow testing kits can be ordered online for next day delivery and full instructions are included.

There are three main steps:

  • Swab your nose and throat using the swabs contained in the testing kit
  • Dip these swabs in the buffer solution provided, and
  • Drop the combined solution onto the sample well of the screening cassette.

The result is shown within 15 minutes.

Easy-to-use lateral flow test

In a similar fashion to the way a pregnancy test works, the result is shown as a line on the testing cassette. Up to two detection lines are possible. The control (C) line appears when the sample flows through the testing device cassette, after the buffer solution containing the sample has been added. This proves that the test has worked and the sample has entered the testing device.

If only the quality control line (C) appears, this means that the test result is negative. No Covid-19 specific antigens have been detected.

The lateral flow test result is positive if both the quality control line (C) and the antigen detection line (T) appear. This means COVID-19 specific antigens have been detected. If these two lines appear, the tested individual must follow the latest government guidance on quarantining and self-isolation.

If the quality control line (C) does not appear, or it takes over 20 minutes for the line(s) to appear, the results are invalid.

The lateral flow antigen test can detect the presence of Covid-19 viral antigens after the onset of symptoms or from 14 days after initial exposure to the virus. This means that anyone testing positive can be quickly isolated to avoid further spread. This is paramount for the new variant of Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly through asymptomatic carriers.

How to order a a lateral flow antigen test

As well as the lateral flow antigen test, AlphaBiolabs offers a range of Covid-19 tests to suit your requirements, including antibody testing and the back-to-lab Rt PCR Laboratory test. Order online here or for further information on any of these tests, please contact our experienced Workplace Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300, or email

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AlphaBiolabs offers a range of COVID-19 testing options for private individuals and businesses