Lateral flow tests are diagnostic devices used to confirm the presence or absence of a target analyte. One key benefit of rapid testing is faster decision making which leads to earlier diagnosis, monitoring and treatment.
Lateral flow tests incorporate quick, easy-to-use protocols and can be used with minimal training. By providing a real-time result, time is saved compared to a laboratory test or is a helpful tool to direct further laboratory testing.
Lateral flow tests are a form of immunoassay in which the test sample flows along a solid substrate via capillary action. They are also called immunochromatographic strip (ICS) tests or simply strip-tests.
After the sample is applied to the test it encounters a colored reagent, often latex or gold. The sample then continues to migrate across the membrane by capillary forces until it reaches the capture zone where the target/conjugate complex will bind to the immobilized antibodies producing a visible line on the membrane.
The sample then migrates further along the strip until it reaches the control zone, where excess conjugate will bind and produce a second visible line on the membrane. This control line indicates that the sample has migrated across the membrane as intended. Two clear lines on the membrane is a positive result. A single line in the control zone is a negative result.