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What Is Lateral Flow Testing and How Does It Work?

What Is Lateral Flow Testing and How Does It Work?

The Lateral Flow Test detects viral proteins (antigens) of the COVID-19 virus in the swab sample. That is what it’s also known as the rapid antigen test. It’s a quick and simple test that is increasingly being used for different purposes, from general testing, travel-related testing, to confirmatory testing after PCR. The test is also relatively inexpensive, which makes it possible to scale up its usage and make it accessible to more people. The Lateral Flow Test is particularly useful in detecting asymptomatic cases, thus allowing for any potential transmission of the virus to be contained early on. The test is being provided by a number of companies, but not all of them are accredited and approved by the UK government. You can get an accredited Lateral Flow Test from IQ doctor with quick delivery of kits and turnaround time of results. Read on to find out how to take the test and what the test results mean.

How To Take The Lateral Flow Test

How To Take The Lateral Flow Test

Carefully follow the Lateral Flow Test instructions that come with the kit. These instructions include the following steps:

  • Make sure you haven’t had anything to eat or drink in the last 30 minutes.
  • Wash your hands and clean the surface where you will take the test.
  • Take the test within 30 minutes of removing it from the packaging.
  • Open the pouch and take out the cassette. The cassette will have a result window and a specimen well.
  • Remove the aluminium foil from the top of the extraction buffer tube.
  • Insert the tube into the hole in the kit box.
  • Open the swab packaging and take out the swab. Make sure that you hold it at the stick end and not the side with the fabric tip.
  • Insert the fabric tip of the swab into your nose. Slowly push it up to your nose until it is one to two centimetres in or when you start feeling resistance. Make sure that the tip of the swab does not touch anything other than the inside of your nose.
  • Put the fabric tip of the swab in the fluid of the extraction tube. Mix it thoroughly.
  • Put two drops of fluid from the extraction tube onto the test cassette.
  • Leave the test cassette on a clean surface for 20-30 minutes.
  • After 20-30 minutes, note the results. Then, interpret the results based on the instructional image that will be on the kit.
  • For verified results, send IQ Doctor an image of your test cassette with the sample verification card. If you test negative, you will get either a Fit to Fly Certificate or Day 2 Certificate, based on the category of test you took.

 Interpreting Your Result

Interpreting Your Result


If your Lateral Flow Test result is inconclusive, you will need to retake the test. The inconclusive result could be due to many reasons such as not following the procedure correctly, having excess mucus in the nasal cavity, lack of inactivation solution in the cassette, contamination from external sources, or some other manual error.

You will need to repeat all steps using a new swab and test cassette and follow all the instructions in the correct order provided with the kit. You will also have to report your inconclusive result to the NHS.


If your Lateral Flow Test result is positive, you and your household need to self-isolate immediately per Government guidelines. In addition, you will be required to report your test results to the NHS and book a confirmatory PCR test.

You will have to enter ten full days of self-isolation. Your self-isolation period starts immediately from the time you begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19. If you don’t have any symptoms, your ten days will start after you take the test.


If your Lateral Flow Test result is negative, your movement will not be restricted. However, you will still have to report your results to the NHS and continue following all other COVID-19 related government guidance, including regular handwashing, social distancing and wearing face coverings, where required.

Lateral Flow Tests are an invaluable tool in the fight against COVID.

Based on a pilot study conducted in the UK, the Lateral Flow Test showed promising results, which has accelerated the adoption of the Lateral Flow Test as the primary test for COVID-19. The economy of scale offered by Lateral Flow Testing makes it a practical and scalable method for testing large numbers of people quickly, effectively, and cheaply.

IQ Doctor is a fully verified and licenced online pharmacy that offers a range of PCR, LFT, and antibody tests across the UK. The tests can be ordered with ease and delivered right to your doorsteps in quick time and with complete confidentiality. You can book your test on our website. If you need any consultation, feel free to contact us at

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