Lateral flow tests are a popular, straightforward form of diagnostics. These tests rely on the lateral flow immunoassay to detect target components within a sample, making the process simple, fast, and reliable. The ease and accessibility of these tests mean that they’re an essential part of many medical fields. From helping expecting mothers prepare for their future to tracking viruses all over the world, lateral flow tests are invaluable for patients and medical professionals alike. Discover just a few of the different applications of lateral flow tests with this list.
Lateral flow immunoassays have played—and continue to play—a crucial role in studying and fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The COVID-19 lateral flow test, also known as the COVID-19 rapid antigen test, detects COVID-19 in a patient by identifying the presence of antibodies that the body forms in response to the virus.
This also means that the COVID-19 lateral flow test helps scientists study and understand natural immune responses to the coronavirus. Because lateral flow tests work so quickly, the COVID-19 test offers a fast way to screen individuals and empower better social distancing practices.
Another incredibly common use of lateral flow tests is over-the-counter pregnancy tests. These at-home tests are easy to find, affordable to buy, and intuitive to use. That makes them invaluable when trying to find out whether or not you’re pregnant quickly and privately. Lateral flow pregnancy tests detect the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, which only exists in pregnant women. This straightforward but effective diagnosis makes this initial step of pregnancy much simpler for women.
Hepatitis B Virus
Hepatitis B (HBV) is a widespread virus with cases all around the world. While many patients only experience an acute infection that goes away after a few weeks, some patients experience chronic HBV and become lifelong carriers of the virus. As such, one of the most important applications of lateral flow tests is HBV screening.
Fast, accessible, and accurate testing can help doctors better understand their patients’ symptoms and offer them more effective treatments. Lateral flow tests allow health professionals to confirm or rule our HBV when caring for their patients, which in turn creates better care for the patient as well as better understanding and control of the hepatitis B virus.