Tests done on campus will be analyzed using two types of technology: antigen and PCR. Both tests will be done using a simple nasal swab (not a nasopharyngeal swab which probes deeper into the nasal cavity).
Antigen tests (frequently referred to as rapid tests) identify the presence of certain proteins on the surface of the virus. Results can be provided within a few minutes to allow quick identification of probable COVID-19 cases. A positive antigen test means you likely have COVID-19 and you will need to begin the isolation process.
PCR tests detect the genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19. This test is highly sensitive and specific and is considered an accurate diagnostic test. A positive PCR test means you have COVID-19 and you will be required to isolate.
If you have symptoms and the antigen test (frequently referred to as rapid test) is negative a confirmatory PCR test is needed to ensure you are not infected. You must stay isolated until the PCR test comes back.
The specific antigen tests being utilized are Abbott BinaxNOW.