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Abbott Rapid Testing

Northwestern is partnering with Abbott to offer our community its recently released, rapid antigen test, BinaxNOW. We will use this test in conjunction with Abbott’s NAVICA app, which you will use to retrieve your test results. 

About the Test

Studies suggest that these antigen tests do a good job of detecting positive cases when viral levels are higher, meaning the individual is likely to be infectious. When used more frequently, the nearly immediate results can be helpful in quickly identifying those who are asymptomatic and more likely to be infectious, further protecting our community.

All Northwestern students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to complete as many rapid tests a week as they would like. Testing requirements for students are outlined on the Undergraduate and Graduate Student testing websites.

Locations and Times

Rapid testing is available at:

  • Jacobs Center (2001 Sheridan Road) in Evanston, using the south (Deering Meadow) entrance
  • 345 E. Superior Street in Chicago

No appointments are needed for rapid testing. Rapid testing at both sites is available Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm.

Completing Your Rapid Test

The information below outlines the steps you will need to take before coming to take your rapid test and what to expect afterwards. If you have questions, please contact

Before Testing

Most students have received an invite to begin their Abbott testing, and remaining students and faculty and staff will receive their invite the week of March 8th.

The following steps will take less than five minutes to complete:

  1. Please note, if you are completing an Abbott Rapid Test for the first time, you’ll need to complete an online consent form in advance. You will only need to complete this form one time.
  2. You will receive an email titled “NAVICA Invitation from Northwestern University for (your name)” to your NU email address. 
    • This email details the steps you need to take to download the NAVICA app and connect to Northwestern.
    • This email also provides your personal Connect Code that is necessary to connect to NU before you can begin testing.
  3. Download the NAVICA app at App Store or Google Play.
    • Enter your basic demographic information to set up your account.
    • Use your Northwestern email.
    • You will receive a “Please confirm your email address” email from NAVICA/Abbott.
    • Upon completion, you will receive a “Welcome to NAVICA” email as part of this process.
  4. Connect to “Northwestern” in your NAVICA app. 
    • Once in the NAVICA app, select the “Test Site” tab from the bottom navigation.
    • Click the settings icon in the upper right corner.
    • In the “CONNECTED ORGS” section, select the “Connect an Organization” option.
    • Enter your personal “Connect Code” provided to you in the above “NAVICA Invitation from Northwestern University” email, and click the blue “Verify” button at the bottom of the screen. You only need to enter this once in the app.

Testing: What to Expect

The rapid test is a simple nasal swab and should take you less than fifteen minutes onsite.

What to bring: A device with the NAVICA app downloaded (remember your NAVICA password so you can login), your Wildcard, and know your NetID


  • Results will be available within 30 minutes of completing your test.
  • You will receive a notification on your phone informing you that your NAVICA results are ready.
  • Login to your NAVICA app to view your results.

If your results are negative, you will see a green NAVICA pass on the “Pass” tab. If your results are positive, the result will be considered a “presumptive positive.” Self-quarantine immediately, and Case Management will reach out shortly to provide guidance on next steps. This will include coordinating another follow-up confirmatory COVID-19 test at NUHS.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute my required Color COVID-19 test with the Abbott BinaxNOW test to remain compliant with my testing cadence?

No, you must complete your Color COVID-19 test to be compliant with your testing cadence. The Abbott BinaxNOW test will serve as an additional surveillance tool to provide you with the security of receiving your results within 30 minutes of taking a test.

What email address should I use to create/sign in to my NAVICA account?

In order to be eligible for COVID testing through Northwestern University, you need to use your Northwestern email address for all testing related activities and communications.

I created my NAVICA account, but I cannot find the email with my personal “Connect Code” to connect to Northwestern. What should I do?

You should have received an email from containing your “Connect Code” the day NU uploaded you as a participant. This is not necessarily the same day that you created your account. If you cannot find this email in your inbox, check your Spam folder. If you still are unable to find your “Connect Code,” please email with you first name, last name, and NetID, and we will resend you the invitation.

What should I bring to my test?

A device with the NAVICA app downloaded (remember your NAVICA password so you can login!), your Wildcard, and know your NetID.

How will I receive my results?

You will receive a notification on your phone within 30 minutes of taking your test informing you that your NAVICA results are ready. Login to your NAVICA app to review your results.

What should I do if I receive a positive result?

This result will be considered a “presumptive positive.” Self-quarantine immediately and Case Management will reach out shortly to provide you guidance on next steps. This will include a follow-up confirmatory test at NUHS.

What should I do if I receive an invalid result?

While an invalid result is not indicative of either a positive or negative result, it does not provide you with a definitive result. We ask that you come in to re-test at your earliest convenience.

What should I do if I don’t have a smart device?

Email telling them that you don’t have a smart device and we will walk you through next steps to navigate testing.

What should I do if I am having issues downloading my NAVICA app or creating an account?

Please inform a staff member upon arrival at the testing center so that we can quickly work through these issues onsite.

I notice an at-home option in the NAVICA app. Do I have access to this?

At-home testing is offered by Abbott independently through eMed. If you chose to purchase these tests you do so at your own cost.  No costs will be reimbursed by Northwestern.