Recognize What is a Rapid Test for Corona Virus

In an effort to reduce the spread of the Corona virus, the government has begun to conduct rapid tests in several regions in Indonesia. Actually, what is a rapid test? Can everyone undergo this procedure?


The number of people who are positively infected by the Corona virus (COVID-19) in Indonesia is increasing day by day. In order to prevent the spread of the Corona virus even more broadly, President Joko Widodo instructed to conduct a rapid test, especially in some regions in Indonesia which have high COVID-19 cases.

This test is intended so that the government and health workers can find out who have the potential to spread the Corona virus and take precautions so that the number of COVID-19 cases does not increase.

What is a Rapid Test?

Rapid test is an initial screening method to detect antibodies, namely IgM and IgG, which are produced by the body to fight the Corona virus. These antibodies will be formed by the body when there is exposure to the Corona virus.

In other words, if these antibodies are detected in a person's body, this means that the person's body has been exposed or entered by the Corona virus. But you need to know, the formation of these antibodies takes time, even up to several weeks.

So, the rapid test here is only a screening or screening test, not an examination to diagnose Corona virus infection or COVID-19.

The only test that can confirm whether a person is infected with the Corona virus so far is only a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) examination. This examination can detect the Corona virus directly, not through the presence or absence of antibodies to this virus.

Procedure and Interpretation of Rapid Test Results

The rapid test procedure begins with taking a blood sample from the tip of the finger which is then dripped into a rapid test kit. Next, the liquid to mark the antibody will be dropped in the same place. The result will be a line that appears 10-15 minutes after that.

Positive results on the rapid test indicate that the person examined had been infected with the Corona virus. Even so, people who have been infected with the Corona virus and have this virus in their body can get negative rapid test results because their bodies have not formed antibodies to the Corona virus.

Therefore, if the results are negative, the rapid test needs to be repeated 7-10 days after that. You are also still advised to do independent isolation for 14 days even though you have no symptoms at all and feel healthy.

Well, if your rapid test results are positive, don't panic yet. The antibodies detected in the rapid test may be antibodies to other viruses or other types of coronaviruses, not those that cause COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2.

So, it is necessary to take a swab for PCR testing to determine whether there is SARS-CoV-2 infection. Before conducting a PCR test or while waiting for the results, you must undergo independent isolation at home for at least 14 days.

During isolation, avoid traveling and contact with other people who live in the same house, while applying a clean and healthy lifestyle. Apply physical distancing, i.e. keep a distance of at least 1 meter from others and wear a mask when having to interact with others.

Besides that whatever the results of the rapid test, keep an eye on your health condition. If COVID-19 symptoms appear, such as coughing, fever, hoarseness, and shortness of breath, immediately contact a health care facility or COVID-19 hotline to get further tests.

Not Everybody Can Do a Rapid Test

Due to limited equipment, not everyone can undergo this procedure simultaneously. So far, examinations have only been prioritized for people who are more at risk of COVID-19. The criteria include:

  1. Persons under surveillance, ie those who have a fever of ≥ 380C or symptoms of respiratory system disorders, such as colds, coughs and shortness of breath, and have a history of travel or living in the local transmission area, both in Indonesia and abroad
  2. People who have a history of contact with patient cases under surveillance (PDP)
  3. People who have a history of contact with confirmed patients or are likely to be positive for COVID-19
  4. People with the highest risk of contracting, such as health workers in hospitals that handle COVID-19
  5. Communities working in puskesmas or clinics, as well as people with professions with high social interaction (TNI, police, public officials, scholars, airport officials, or market traders)

Determination of the criteria can be done when you go to the health center to see a doctor. You can also be approached directly by the health center if you are recorded in the ODP, PDP, or confirmed patient contact.

If you are outside these criteria, you are encouraged to continue to take steps to prevent the Corona virus transmission by washing your hands regularly, maintaining endurance, doing social distancing or what is now called physical distancing, and not leaving the house except for urgent interests.

To find out how likely you are to be infected with Corona virus, try the risk check feature of contracting Corona virus which is provided free by Alodokter. If you still have questions about the Corona virus, you can chat directly to the doctor through the Alodokter application. In this application, you can also make an appointment with a doctor in the hospital.