How Accurate is the Home-Based covid Test Kit?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of testing for COVID-19 from the comfort of our own homes can be quite appealing. It’s quick, easy, convenient and it also reduces the risk of infection if you or someone in your household are displaying symptoms.
How do COVID-19 RT PCR tests work?
In short, the COVID-19 test involves taking a swab of the inside of the nose and the back of the throat, using a long cotton bud. The process of taking this sample is quick, easy and painless. This is then sent to a lab who analyse the sample provided to see whether there is presence of the COVID-19 virus. A positive or negative test result is then issued to you within a short space after you have completed the test.
If you require guidance for taking your test is recommended that you follow Public Health England’s advice on how to complete your PCR test when it arrives. To watch a video demonstrating how to carry out your test click here.
Summary of steps:
- Open the swab kit stick end first DO NOT open the kit swab end first. If you do open the kit swab end first an inconclusive test might be drawn when you send it to the lab. In the event that this happens, you will need to be retested.
- Use a mirror and rub the swab on the back of your throat around the tonsils 5 times. If you have had your tonsils removed, do this where your tonsils would have been.
It is vital that you do not touch your teeth or tongue with the swab whilst doing this.
- Using the same swab, you must insert it up the left nostril of your nose until you feel resistance. Then turn the swab five times.
It is vital that you do not touch any other part of your face with the swab whilst doing this.
Now insert the swab up the right nostril of your nose until you feel resistance and repeat step 3.
- Unscrew the cap of the sample tube and insert the swab fabric-end first into the tube.
Snap off the end of the stick that is extending out of the tube by bending it at the break point.
Screw the cap on the sample tube and ensure that it is tight.
- Place the barcode label over the length of the tube.
- Place your test back in the delivery box and ensure that is correctly labelled to be returned to the Fit for Flying lab for testing.
- Post your sample back to the lab via your nearest Royal Mail Priority Postboxbefore the last collection time.
How accurate are COVID-19 RT PCR tests?
The COVID-19 RT PCR Swab Test is established as the gold standard of COVID tests. This is why most countries around the world require you to take one of these tests before being granted entry. It is for this reason that here at Fit for Flying we only offer the RT PCR COVID-19 test. Therefore, if you are required to travel internationally for a legally permitted reason, it is essential that you book a PCR test with a trusted provider, such as Fit for Flying.
For more information on how to purchase a test click here.
The overall accuracy of your test is dependent upon you providing as accurate a sample as possible. This means that before getting started, it is important to carefully read the instructions that come with you test kit fully before you open the test kit. If you would like to watch a video demonstration for how to carry out your test click here.
It is also important to ensure that your hands are clean. Wash your hands thoroughly using soap for 20 seconds before you handle the test kit. Ensure than the area that you are using to administer the COVID-19 test kit is clear, clean and tidy.
If more than one person in your home is taking the COVID-19 test, please make sure you have a test kit for each person.
With the correct sampling technique, Fit for Flying and other test result providers are able to guarantee a 99.9% accuracy of the results. This is the highest level of accuracy for tests. This is why it is important to ensure that you follow the sample collection instructions carefully.
How long do test results last?
The validity of a negative COVID-19 test certificate depends upon the purpose that you are using it for, therefore it is important that you check the requirements that are relevant to your situation and plans.
For example, for travel purposes, the validity of a negative COVID-19 test is determined by the airline and the country or state an individual wants to travel to. Therefore it is crucial that before traveling you check the requirements of the airline that you are traveling with in addition to the destination country and print a copy of your negative COVID-19 test result that you retain for the duration of your journey. Hence, COVID-19 fit to fly certificates are therefore only valid for a short time - typically 72 hours.
It should be noted that most countries require foreign travellers to present a fit to fly certificate that confirms them eligible to fly. The fit to fly certificate must indicate that the customer has taken an RT PCR test and the result was negative.
Additionally, most countries' and airlines' regulations dictate that the fit to fly test must take place within 72 hours of departure. Please check with your airline and destination country before you administer your test, they will have a set timing requirement.
If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 it is important that you continue to self-isolate with your household until you receive a negative test result.
The UK government website states that key symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- You’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or its changed