How does the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test work?
The iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test is an antigen test. When COVID-19 is present in the body, your nasal secretions can also contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19). The iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test is able to detect small parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, known as N protein or antigens, in your nasal secretions.
For a demonstration on how the test works, watch the instructional video here.
Will this test detect COVID-19 variants?
iHealth has completed testing on several heat inactivated variant strains and the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test was able to detect the mutations. The clinical performance has not been established in all circulating variants but is anticipated to be reflective of the prevalent variants in circulation at the time and location of the clinical evaluation. Performance at the time of testing may vary depending on the variants circulating, including newly emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2 and their prevalence, which change over time.
What are the differences between a COVD-19 antigen, molecular, and antibody test?
There are different kinds of tests for COVID-19. Molecular tests (also known as PCR tests)detect genetic material from the virus. Antigen tests detect proteins from the virus. Antigen test sare very specific for the virus but are not as sensitive as molecular tests. This means that a positive result is highly accurate, but a negative result does not rule out infection. Another typeof test is an antibody test. A COVID-19 antibody test detects antibodies that have been made by your immune system in response to a previous COVID-19 infection or vaccination. Antibody tests are not suitable to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection.
For more information on COVID-19 testing, please see the following link: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/coronavirus-disease-2019-testing-basics
Is this iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit FDA approved or cleared?
No. This test is not yet approved or cleared by the United States FDA. FDA can issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) when certain criteria are met, which includes that there are no adequate, approved, available alternatives. The EUA for this test is supported by the Secretary of Health and Human Service’s (HHS’s) declaration that circumstances exist to justify emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for the detection and/or diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID-19. This EUA will remain in effect (meaning this test can be used) for the duration of the COVID-19 declaration justifying emergency of IVDs, unless it is terminated or authorization is revoked by FDA (after which the test may no longer be used).
What are the approved alternatives?
There are no approved available alternative antigen tests. FDA has issued EUAs for other tests that can be found at: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization
What is the age range for the test?
This test is authorized for nonprescription home use with self-collected (unobserved) anterior nasal swab specimens from individuals aged 15 years and older or with adult-collected anterior nasal swab samples from individuals aged 2 years or older.
What is serial testing?
Serial testing is when a single person is tested for COVID-19 more than once. Because antigen tests are less sensitive than other COVID-19 tests and false results may occur, repeated testing may identify individuals with COVID-19 more reliably than a single test. By repeating testing, it may be possible to more quickly identify cases of COVID-19 and reduce spread of infection. Additional testing with molecular COVID-19 test may be necessary, depending on your individual risk factors and test results. It is important that you work with your healthcare provider to help you understand the next steps you should take. Serial testing (i.e., testing everyday or every other day) is more likely to detect COVID-19, especially when you do not have any symptoms.
Testing for asymptomatic individuals should be performed at least twice over three days, with at least twenty-four hours and no more than 48 hours between tests. You may need to purchase additional tests to perform this serial (repeat) testing.
Do I always need to perform two tests?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms and are within the first 7 days of symptom onset, you can use one single test of the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test. You may also choose to perform two tests if you wish. By testing more frequently, you may detect COVID-19 more quickly and reduce spread of infection.
If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms or have been having symptoms for more than 7 days, you will need to perform two tests over two or three days with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.
Will this test work if I don't have symptoms?
Yes. If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you will need to perform two tests over two or three days with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.
Should people who are vaccinated use this test?
Individuals can utilize this test, as needed, regardless of vaccination status.
Is this test covered by insurance?
The test is available for self-test at home without a prescription. Please consult with your health insurance to make sure if your test will be covered.
Is a prescription required to perform this test?
You do not need a doctor’s prescription to purchase and perform this test.