Home tests do not replace corona tests carried out by health care service

Publication date 20 Apr 2021

Home tests for the coronavirus are currently also for sale in Finland. The available home tests are antibody tests that will give a preliminary assessment of whether you have previously had the coronavirus disease. However, the antibody test does not reliably indicate whether the person currently has a coronavirus infection. If you notice symptoms suitable for a coronavirus infection, you must always get tested for free by professionals. 

Antibody tests at home are performed on a blood sample from a person’s fingertip. The tests detect antibodies formed by the body against coronavirus, not directly the virus itself. The antibodies rise to a detectable level in the blood within approximately one to three weeks of infection. In the early stages of a coronavirus infection, the test may give a negative result due to insufficient antibodies having formed. The antibody test also cannot confirm whether the virus has left the person’s body at the end stages of the disease. 

In addition to antibody tests, there are antigen tests for coronavirus home testing. Antigen tests are suitable for the detection of an acute coronavirus infection and identify an infection best when no more than five days have passed from the onset of symptoms. Antigen tests intended for home testing carrying a CE marking are not yet available on the Finnish market.

If you have symptoms, go get tested by a professional regardless of the result of the home test

The home test will never replace the corona tests performed in health care. No decisions concerning treatment will be made nor will a person be exempted from isolation or quarantine ordered by a communicable diseases physician based on the results of a home test. 

"If you observe even one symptom suitable for the coronavirus disease, always get tested by a professional and otherwise stay at home," emphasises Carita Savolainen-Kopra, Senior Specialist at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. 

A PCR test performed by a professional is the most reliable method for detecting a coronavirus infection.  However, if you are considering a home test, you should select one with a CE marking that meets requirements. It is also a good idea to read up on how the test results should be interpreted. You can read more about the requirements for home tests and the interpretation of the results on the THL website.  

More information

Coronavirus home tests

Carita Savolainen-Kopra
Senior Specialist
tel. +358 (0)29 524 8884
[email protected]

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