Hospital Clinica Biblica is now offering rapid antigen tests for U.S. citizens who need a negative result in order to return to their home country.
In doing so, they join Laboratorios Echandi and a growing number of private labs across Costa Rica that provide the faster and cheaper coronavirus tests.
The antigen test at Clinica Biblica costs 30,000 colones (about $50), and the hospital is promising results within two hours.
“The antigen test is now available 24 hours a day during the entire week, in both locations: San José and Santa Ana,” the private hospital said in a statement.
The antigen test detects proteins related to the virus. The sample is collected using a nasal swab, similar to PCR tests.
Antigen tests are not authorized for widespread use in Costa Rica, as they can be less accurate than PCR tests. However, they are approved for international travelers; proof of a flight within 72 hours is necessary for the test.
Hospital Clinica Biblica also offers PCR tests with results promised within 36 hours. These cost ¢55,120 (about $90) but are available to anyone, including non-travelers. Many countries require a PCR test for entry but will not accept antigen tests.
Antigen tests do meet the United States’s entry requirements. Per the CDC:
Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), and transcription-mediated amplification (TMA).
Antigen tests do not meet Canada’s entry requirements. They are accepted by the UK and Panama. Policies change frequently, so we recommend checking with your country or state’s health department before testing.