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Rapid Diagnostic Tests

Rapid tests, also known as rapid diagnostic tests or RDTs, are easy-to-use tests that provide quick results, usually in 20 minutes or less. Unlike most standard tests, which have to be sent to a lab.

Rapid tests are done and provide results at the point of care. The point of care is the place where you are getting care. It can include your provider’s office, a clinic, or even your own home.

Some of the popular tests include Pregnancy, Glucose, Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Lactate, INR, Substances (Cocaine, marijuana, alcohol), Urine Test Strips, Strep A Detection, FOB Detection, Helicobacter Pylori Detection, Influenza A/B, Mononucleosis, SARS-CoV-2.

Rapids tests usually include the following steps:

You will provide a sample of your body fluid, such as blood, urine, saliva, or nasal secretions.
The sample is mixed with a special substance that will cause a chemical reaction if a disease or other condition is present.
Results will show on a dipstick or rapid test cassette.
A dipstick is a thin, plastic strip that’s coated with chemicals. If the test is positive, the dipstick will change colors when placed in the sample.
A rapid test cassette is a small, plastic case that has a well that holds the sample. The well will show a letter or a symbol to indicate the result.
Most rapid tests are highly accurate, but the results are not always as accurate as standard lab tests.

Other names: rapid diagnostic tests, RDT’s point-of-care tests

How are they used?
Rapid tests are most often used to diagnose infectious diseases, including:

Strep throat
COVID 19. Rapid tests for COVID-19 usually provide results in about 30 minutes.
Rapid tests are also used in certain home-based tests, such as pregnancy tests.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of rapid tests?
The advantages of rapid tests include:

Fast results. This may allow you to get treatment faster. Faster treatment can reduce the severity of your symptoms, and may help prevent the spread of disease
Easy to use. They can be done by non-medical workers and volunteers who have been trained to do the test. You may even be able to perform a rapid test on yourself.
Little or no special equipment required.

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