HOW DO LATERAL FLOW TESTS WORK?
Lateral flow tests can be designed to analyse various body fluids, but in the case of COVID-19, most tests analyse material collected from the back of someone’s nose and throat. The swab is then inserted into a tube of liquid, after which a sample of this liquid is deposited on a small absorbent pad contained within the disposable testing kit. The liquid is drawn along the pad by capillary action, until it encounters a strip coated in antibodies which are specific to proteins, also known as antigens, from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. If viral proteins are present, this will show up as a coloured line.
Lateral Flow Antigen tests are rapid turnaround tests that can process COVID-19 samples on site without the need for laboratory equipment, with most generating results in 15-30 minutes.