Why Do People Get Conflicting Results From Rapid COVID-19 Testing?

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Would you take a COVID-19 test that provides results in 15 minutes or less? All it takes is a nasal swab and a sample card coated with a particular antigen-detecting chemical. It sounds like it could change testing as we know it — and it has.

Rapid testing is gaining widespread use in schools, workplaces, airlines and even Hollywood. Despite its mass appeal, some public figures have received inconsistent results, leading many to ask, "How reliable are these tests?" Before you request one, learn how rapid testing works and how it should be used, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).