(Image: Supplied)

Sometimes It’s the little things that hint at something bigger around the corner. A toilet leak that demolishes the floor of a house. The first inkling of a weather change that unleashes cyclonic fury. A scratchy throat that precedes Omicron.

The rapid antigen test (RAT) falls into that category: a tiny product that can accurately signal the onset of COVID in 15 minutes. And at the moment, a RAT is almost impossible to find. 

Chemists can’t provide them. Nor can supermarkets. Online suppliers are unsure when they will see more. Even hospitals are running out as hundreds of thousands of Australians follow health advice and seek a test.