Hello friends, by now you’ve probably had to do a Rapid Antigen Test, more affectionately known as a RAT. They’re rather difficult to get a hold of at the moment, not being much fun for your nussy, and pretty vital in providing important information about whether or not you have COVID-19. But, what on Earth do those ‘C’ and ‘T’ letters mean?

So How Do I Read My Covid RAT Test?

No, the letters don’t stand for ‘COVID’ and ‘Tnot Covid’, nor do they stand for ‘Coronavirus’ and ‘test again you sick bitch’, like I initially thought.

Just in case you haven’t had to do one of these bad boys, if it shows up with a red line on just the ‘C’, that means that you have received a negative result. Getting a red line on both the ‘C’ ‘T’ means you pretty much definitely have COVID, and should go out and get a more accurate PCR test.

A single red line on the ‘T’ however is considered an invalid test, and you’ll have to stick the swabs back into your nose and try again.

covid rat test c and t
Oh mystery letters, what do you mean?

But enough words, you want answers and explanations.

What Does ‘C’ And ‘T’ Mean On My RAT Test?

The ‘C’ stands for ‘control’, as in a control test, which is pretty standard terminology used in science, and the ‘T’ stands for ‘test’.

It’s all rather complicated, so here is an explanation in layman’s terms.

The ‘control’ line is there to test whether or not the test got enough fluid and antibodies. It’s essentially a test for the test to see if it’s working as it should, it’s controlling the test.

The ‘test’ line however is (as the name suggests) testing for COVID-19 particles. Every RAT contains immobilised coloured antibodies, which stick to the virus and cause the red line to appear.

Someone as smooth brained as me would really appreciate a big green tick for positive and a huge red cross for negative, but I guess the scientific letters make it more mysterious and fun.

Truly, when our civilisation falls and aliens come to analyse our mysterious cryptic artifacts, the Rapid Antigen Test will be the most confusing item of all, left in the dust of our fallen testing centres and skyscrapers. Nobody will be able to decipher the ‘C’ and the ‘T’.

Well friends, there you have it. Now you can go and tell all your friends that you know what the ‘C’ and the ‘T’ stand for on RATs. You’ll absolutely be the life of the (eventual) party, that’s for sure.

Image: Getty Images / Claudia Nass