With the rapidly increasing number of Corona infections and vaccination breakthroughs, the demand for quick tests to take home is increasing, and test kits are often out of stock. There are a few points you should bear in mind when buying a rapid test. Everything you need to know about the Corona rapid test for home use. Plus information on which rapid tests reliably detect the omicron variant.
- Caution is advised when purchasing a rapid test: A recent test by the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) shows: One in 5. Test is not sensitive enough.
- Important to know: A rapid test is always only a snapshot and is less reliable than a PCR test.
- It is becoming increasingly apparent that the perceived safety of rapid tests is dangerous. Not all infections are reliably detected. Despite all their weaknesses, rapid tests are an important tool in the fight against the virus.
This article is continuously updated. Last updated: 26. January 2022
Where to get Corona rapid tests for home use?
Many people currently want to buy a rapid test for home use. This is a quick way to check whether you are corona-negative – at least at the time of the test – before meeting family or friends. A wide variety of rapid tests are now approved and there are a number of ways to purchase rapid tests for home use. In view of the omicron variant, however, the question is increasingly being raised as to which rapid tests can detect the omicron variant reliably at all.
Here, we’ve listed the most important information surrounding rapid tests:
Which corona self-tests are reliable?
Caution is advised when buying rapid tests for private use: the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) lists all rapid tests that are permitted in Germany on its online site. Problem here: The tests may be sold – but they have not been verified.
The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI), on the other hand, regularly tests rapid tests and lists them in the "Comparative Evaluation of the Sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Tests". Tests that do not have sufficient sensitivity are not listed by the Paul Ehrlich Institute.
To the explanation: The sensitivity of Covid-19 tests means the probability of a positive test result that was also correctly identified as positive. D.h. nfected person is truly infected and receives a positive test result. The higher the sensitivity, the more reliably the test detects the disease.
Each 5. Rapid test is not sensitive enough
In a recent test by the Paul Ehrlich Institute, a total of 122 Covid 19 antigen rapid tests were examined for their sensitivity and thus their ability to detect Sars CoV-2 virus. The result: about 21 percent of the rapid antigen tests available in Europe fail to meet the quality criteria of the Paul Ehrlich Institute.
How reliable is my test? An app helps
Since the PEI’s list is not easy to read for lay people, researchers from Berlin have developed a new app that allows you to see at a glance how the test was rated by the PEI. All you have to do is scan the barcode of the test via your smartphone. The app from "Zerforschung can be found under schnelltesttest.en can be downloaded.
How reliable are rapid tests with the omicron variant?
The omicron variant of the coronavirus causes uncertainty – because with the new variant, the current rapid tests are not as reliable as with the previous virus variants.
Virologists Sandra Ciesek and Isabella Eckerle have reviewed some tests and given the all-clear. Accordingly, u.a. the tests of these manufacturers also indicate positive results with the Omikron variant:
- Panbio-Covid-19 Ag Rapid Test Device from Abbott Rapid Diagnostics Jena
- Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid test from Acon Biotech
- SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test from SD Biosensor/Roche
- Sure Status Covid-19 Antigen Card Test from Premier Medical Corporation
- OnSite COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test from CTK Biotech
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has a Positive list for rapid tests Announced. "I have asked the Paul Ehrlich Institute to prepare a positive list of tests that are particularly suitable for omicron or "early detection of omicron", Lauterbach told the ARD capital studio. However, it will be some time before the list of rapid tests that reliably detect omicron infection is available.
Based on current data, the Paul Ehrlich Institute believes that the vast majority of antigen tests offered and positively evaluated in Germany can detect omicron infection.
Good to knowThe Corona variant involved in an infection with the virus can only be determined by complex sequencing in the laboratory.
How to increase the reliability of the tests?
- Experts such as virologist Sandra Ciesek advise using repeated testsIf the viral load is low on the first test and the result is negative, it may be different the next day or the day after. Your tip: If the first test is negative, test again after 12 to 24 hours.
- Make sure the self-test is done correctly.
Corona self-tests: currently difficult to obtain
Our research from the end of January 2022 shows: rapid tests for laypersons are currently not always available and are often out of stock in drugstores and discounters. In most pharmacies and mail-order pharmacies, however, self-tests for laypersons can be obtained without any problems.
Should you be faced with empty shelves: Try your luck regularly at discount stores and drugstores – and also on their websites. Ask when the next delivery is expected to be. You can check the dm website to see which store currently has the tests in stock.
Should you search online for a rapid antigen test, pay attention to the following points:
1. Is it also really an antigen test (and not an antibody test)? (For more info see below in the text)
2. If it is a test that has been tested by the Paul Ehrlich Institute and has a good rating?
Buy antigen rapid test online
If you want to buy a Corona rapid test online, you should make sure that it is a Antigen test acts.
Some Corona test kits, which can be purchased on the Internet as a "rapid test for home use", must be can order are antibody tests. An antibody test uses a drop of blood to detect antibodies rather than the virus itself. An antibody test can only tell you if you have already been infected with Sars-CoV-2. Since the immune system needs about ten days to produce antibodies against the virus, the test cannot detect an active corona infection.
- You can find more information here:When does a Corona antibody test make sense??
Are Corona self-tests useful at home??
Rapid tests for lay use are considered an important tool in the fight against the pandemic. In this way, highly infectious people can be found quickly and chains of infection can be interrupted.
What must not be forgotten in the euphoria surrounding rapid tests:
- Rapid antigen tests are not as accurate as PCR tests.
- The result of a rapid test always only a snapshot dar.
- A rapid test reduces the risk, that one without corona symptoms unknowingly infects others. It does not offer 100% certainty.
- Even those who test negative must adhere to the Hygiene rules hold.
- The rapid test only makes sense if the smear test is carried out carefully.
- A positive result must be checked by a PCR test.
Medical experts warn against considering a negative rapid test as a free pass. Adherence to hygiene rules is still important.
How useful are rapid corona tests in vaccinated people??
Medical experts point out that the significance of rapid tests in vaccinated persons is often poor. Reason: the viral load in infected vaccinated persons without symptoms is often so low that it cannot be mapped and the rapid test is negative despite a corona infection. The tests work particularly well when the person tested is particularly contagious. D.h. Infections with a high viral load are most often detected by rapid tests. And these infections are also the ones that are passed on to others.
In particular, the RKI advises testing before necessary meetings with people who are particularly at risk from Corona, regardless of vaccination status.
How Corona Antigen Tests Work?
At Antigen tests unlike PCR tests, the test does not detect the genetic material of the virus, but protein fragments of the coronavirus.
No additional laboratory equipment is needed, the principle is similar to a pregnancy test. A test strip shows whether the genetic material has been found and whether the patient is Corona-positive or -negative.
Quick test and self-test – where is the difference?
Den Self-test can be done, as the name says, by yourself. Self-tests are also called lay tests.
The Quick test Must be done by trained personnel (doctor, pharmacy, test center).
For self-tests as well as quick tests, the result is available after about 15 minutes.
At this point we inform you about rapid tests and home tests against the coronavirus. The article is constantly updated.