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Lateral flow/ rapid antigen testing


Rapid Antigen/ lateral flow testing has been approved for self-testing in trained individuals. Training in rapid antigen/lateral flow testing is a two step process

Step 1 - acquiring the underlying knowledge and understanding of the rapid antigen /lateral flow testing including correct use, methods of swabbing and interpretation of results.
Step 2 - directly observed swabbing and testing by a qualified assessor

This online module provides the underlying knowledge required for step 1, following successful completion of this module you will be invited to book a direct swabbing observation session. After successful completions of steps 1 and 2 you will be deemed competent for self swabbing using rapid antigen/lateral flow testing.


Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as education, minimising numbers on site, physical distancing, buddy groups use of hand sanitiser and masks are the foundations of COVID-19 prevention.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as education, minimising numbers on site, physical distancing, buddy groups use of hand sanitiser and masks are the foundations of COVID-19 prevention.

All these measures decrease the risk to individuals, workforces and events from COVID-19.

Testing for COVID-19

Testing for COIVD-19 helps to confirm COVID-19 in symptomatic or high-risk contacts of positive individuals. We know that some people have COVID-19 but do not display any symptoms. Persons may remain well, yet they can still transmit the virus to others (asymptomatic/ pre-symptomatic spread). Testing asymptomatic individuals helps to identify these asymptotic individuals and isolate them to prevent transmission to other.

Types of COVID-19 Testing

RT-PCR- which is very sensitive, picking up nearly everyone with the virus, but with the disadvantage of being relatively expensive and requiring formal laboratory analysis which can take between 4hrs to 48 hours.

Rapid Antigen Test (which includes lateral flow)- can be conducted by a health professional/ trained test provider or self-testing. These tests return result between 15-40 minutes and do not require a laboratory. Done twice weekly, this is roughly/ nearly equivalent to once weekly RT-PCR as the test is less sensitive, but you are testing more often.

What is Rapid Antigen testing / Lateral flow

Lateral flow is an established technology, adapted to detect proteins (antigens) that are present when a person has COVID-19. The best-known example of a lateral flow test is the home pregnancy test kit.

The test kit is a hand-held device with an absorbent pad at one end and a reading window at the other. Inside the device is a strip of test paper that changes colour in the presence of COVID-19 proteins (antigens).

Please note that Lateral flow testing maybe used alongside but cannot replace RT-PCR testing in symptomatic individuals.

How are the swabs taken for lateral flow/ rapid antigen testing

Typically swabs for Lateral flow/ rapid antigen tests are taken from the nasal passage (nasal swab) or the Nasopharynx (nasopharyngeal swab).

Nasal swab

  • A soft tipped swab is inserted into your nostril up to 2 cm.
  • The swab is then slowly rotate in a circular path against the inside of your nostril at least 4 times for a total of 15 seconds.
  • This process is then peated in the other nostril.
Nasal Swab

Nasopharyngeal swab

  • A soft tipped swab is inserted into the nostril, parallel to the palate (roof of the mouth)
  • The swab should reach a depth equal to the distance from the nostrils to the outer opening of the ear.
  • The swab is rotated four times (this should take approximately 15 seconds)
  • The swab is then removed, this process does not need to be repeated on the other side.
Nasopharyngeal Swab

Rapid antigen/ lateral flow self-testing

A key benefit of lateral flow testing is that a number of these tests have been approved for self-testing once an individual has received appropriate training. Self-testing provides an affordable and convenient option for testing of asymptomatic individuals.

Most self-tests are performed using a nasal swabbing technique (see above description and video below)

Whilst there are a number of manufactures of self-testing kits and therefore it is important to ensure that you are familiar and with the testing procedure for whichever kit you are using.

Whilst there are a number of manufactures of self-testing kits and therefore it is important to ensure that you are familiar and with the testing procedure for whichever kit you are using.

SD Bio-Sensor



Abbott Pan-Bio



Interpreting the results of a Rapid antigen/lateral flow test

It is important that anyone who is self-testing is able to interoperate the results of the test correctly.
The videos above provide information on correct interpretation of results.
The below images show the possible outcome from a lateral flow test and what they mean.

What to do if you return a postive rapid antigen/lateral flow test ?

If you receive a positive test you must immediately isolate and:

  1. At a tournament: contact the COIVD officer/doctor
  2. At home: contact your national reporting service

You will be asked to take a confirmatory PCR test to double-check the lateral flow result; you and your household/close contacts should self-isolate in accordance with Government Guidelines until the result of the PCR test is known.

If the PCR test is negative and you do not have symptoms, then you should have one further RT-PCR test.

If your PCR test is positive, it confirms the lateral flow result and means you must complete your full isolation period. Your isolation period starts immediately from when you tested positive. If symptoms start and you have not had a PCR test, your 10-day isolation period and that of your household restarts from the date you developed symptoms.

What should I do if my test is negative?

If Even if your test is negative you should remain vigilant to the development of the symptoms that could be due to COVID-19 as you may acquire the virus in the period before your next test is due.

Please note: If you have symptoms, but your LFT is negative you will still need to self-isolate and arrange a RT-PCR test.

My test result is invalid - what do I do?

If your test result is invalid, repeat the test with a new kit, carefully following the instructions. If the second test also reads as invalid, if at a tournament please contact the COVID officer, if at home please arrange a PCR test through your national testing service or private provider.

Where do I record my test results?

You must write your initials and date of birth on onto the lateral flow device and take a picture the lateral flow device showing the result, This picture should be sent to the accreditation WhatsApp number with your name and date of birth, the accreditation team will then update the system and if a negative result returned you will be able to collect your accreditation for the week.

What should I do with my used tests kits?

  • Negative Lateral Flow Tests can be disposed of in domestic waste as normal.
  • Positive tests should be placed inside the two waste bags provided and kept for 72 hrs before disposal in domestic waste.

If I develop illness symptoms, I know I need to self-isolate straight away, but can I use a test any time to check if this is COVID?

No, the test is not to be used for checking for COVID if you have symptoms, except under the care of a health professional. These tests are not as good as PCR at excluding COVID-19. You should book a RT-PCR test and remain isolated until the results are available to you. If you do develop symptoms whilst at a tournament please remain in your hotel room and let the COVID officer/ Doctor know immediately.


How should I store my test kits at home? The test kit should be kept at room temperature – not in direct sunlight and not in a fridge or freezer. Keep the test kit away from children and animals.

Is the buffer solution hazardous? As set out in the manufacturer’s safety instructions, the buffer solution is not hazardous; however, if accidentally ingested, a medical practitioner should be informed.

Can I use some of my tests for my family members who might have symptoms?No, the tests are for the designated user only and must not be used by others. We only have limited supplies and if they are shared it means you will run out much more quickly than originally anticipated.
If someone in your family is showing symptoms, then they should book a RT-PCR test

Lateral Flow Large