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How does an antigen test work?
An antigen test can detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in a sample. This sample material can be obtained, for example, via a nasal or throat swab or a saliva sample. The test takes an average of 15 minutes. If viral proteins are present in the sample, the reaction creates a colour line. This kind of test can qualitatively detect SARS-CoV-2 proteins. A second line appears to show that the test has worked correctly.
Rapid test or self-test?
There are now many antigen tests on the market and we have several different tests in our range. In Germany, there are many tests which are approved as self-tests. This means you can now conveniently order your self-test in our online shop and take it at home.
1. Collect sample (either via an anterior nasal swab or saliva)
2. Mix sample with extraction reagent
3. Place drops of the sample solution on the test cassette or test card
4. Wait approx. 15 minutes
5. Read your results: Two dashes indicate a positive test result, one dash means your antigen test result is negative. The test result is invalid if there is no dash or a blue dash appears
Note: Please read the detailed instructions that come with each test kit.
What should I do if the test result is positive?
You must immediately self-isolate and inform the responsible public health authorities. In Germany, you can also contact the on-call health service (116117). They can inform you about the steps you should take and can give you an appointment for a PCR test to confirm the antigen positive result.
What should I do if the test result is negative?
A rapid antigen test is just a "snapshot". Even if the test is negative, you could be infected but your viral load is still too low to be detected. If this is the case, you could still become contagious shortly after taking the test. That is why you should carry out rapid antigen tests regularly and should continue to follow hygiene measures, such as social distancing, wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer.
If no control line appears:
This means that the test result is invalid. Please repeat the test with a new test kit according to its instructions leaflet.
What does the sensitivity and specificity of a rapid antigen test indicate?
Test sensitivity is the test's ability to correctly identify infected people through a positive test result. For example, if the sensitivity of a test is 98%, this means that 98 out of 100 infected people were detected by the test. However, 2 of those 100 people would get a negative result despite being infected. Such results are called "false negative".
Specificity indicates what percentage of uninfected people are detected as such through a negative test. If a test has a 97% specificity, this means that 97 out of 100 people have been correctly identified as uninfected. 3 of those 100 have received a positive test result even though they are not infected. Such results are called "false positives". Most tests have a specificity of 99-100%, which means that positive results in healthy patients are very rare.
You can find more information regarding antigen tests here: