Sat. Mar 25th, 2023
a person doing nasal swab test

Recently, rapid test kits — also known as RATs (Rapid Antigen Tests) have become major commodities during this latest stage of Covid-19.

By | Jessie Woo

After the BC government announced that they will no longer be doing PCR tests, and decided not to distribute rapid test kits in a timely manner, people began turning to pharmacies, or online ordering, to buy a few kits for themselves.

People are drawn to the convenience of these pharmecutical rapid tests: with the kits, they can test anytime in the comfort of their homes. To add, the test only takes 20 minutes for the results. Compared to the pricey PCR tests, which take days to get a result, rapid test kits are more affordable for the economy.

For information about RATs, please visit the BC Centre For Disease Control

So why is it currently so difficult to get a COVID-19 test in BC? Those who are considered high risk, such as long-term care facility workers and health care workers, are top priority, leaving many of those not in those places or jobs out in the cold.

After promising tests for teachers and school employees back in November, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix finally allowed for RATs to be distributed during the first week of February.

Many question the accuracy of rapid test kits. According to professionals and physicians, rapid tests are not as sensitive and therefore not as accurate as PCR tests.

Rapid tests work best when an individual has Covid-19 symptoms, and 80-90% of the time, rapid tests do provide correct results. Those who are asymptomatic may end up with a negative result.

As more rapid tests are sold, the prices will begin shooting up due to the increase in demand.

Rapid tests offer an incredibly convenient and relatively inexpensive method of determining whether one has COVID. Still, people hope that eventually, tests will not be relied upon for determining symptoms of the virus.

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