A rapid antigen test is a fast and simple test that can indicate if someone is likely to have COVID-19.

Some tests can be done at home or in private by yourself and others need to be overseen by a health professional, so it's important to understand which test is best for your business.

Business benefits of rapid antigen testing

  • Easy and safe to use.
  • Relatively low cost.
  • Return results within minutes.
  • Frequent rapid antigen testing (2-3 times a week) can identify COVID-19 infections in people who do not have symptoms which can stop transmission and prevent large outbreaks.
  • Minimise the amount of time you or your employees need to be away from your business to get precautionary standard (PCR) testing.
  • May boost employee confidence in returning to in-person work.

Accuracy of rapid antigen tests

Rapid antigen tests will detect most cases of COVID-19 but are not as accurate as the standard (PCR) test.

Rapid antigen tests are most reliable when used by someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or when used frequently, for example 2-3 times a week.

If you test positive to COVID-19 from a rapid antigen test you should follow the health directions in your state or territory.

Types of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

The two key types of rapid antigen tests are:

  • point-of-care (PoC) tests
  • self-tests.

The differences between PoC tests and self-tests

PoC tests Self-tests
Costs for businesses

Approximately $7-15 each, but must be performed under the supervision of a health practitioner, which may have more costs.

Range from $12-20 each. 

How the tests are verified You must have a health practitioner to supervise PoC rapid antigen tests. They are responsible for overseeing the steps for interpreting and recording test results and notifying people of positive test results. Self-tests can be used unsupervised at home without the involvement of a health practitioner. The person performing the test interprets the results by themselves.

Many sponsors and manufacturers of rapid antigen tests also supply software for use with the tests for users to record their results. There are also firms that can assist businesses in diagnosis, legal requirements and data handling of self-testing systems.  
Time to get a result  Around 15-30 minutes  Around 10-15 minutes

Learn more about the self-tests that are approved in Australia.

Learn more about COVID-19 point-of-care testing.

State and territory requirements

States and territories may have different recommendations for testing and reporting positive results based on their public health orders.

Stay up-to-date on the latest information on rapid antigen testing in your state or territory

Read next

Find more COVID-19 information and support for business.

Learn how to start using rapid antigen test kits in your business operations.

Learn about your obligations when buying and selling rapid antigen test kits.