Two different COVID-19 tests may give you different results.
And both can be true.
That’s the crux of this testing confusion.
As it turns out, they each have their own role in measuring your COVID-19 status.
“There is a lot of confusion out there. And it’s really confusing, even for us who’ve been doing this for several years,” said Dr. Kami Kim, Director of Infectious Diseases at the University of South Florida.
Kim is an infectious disease expert trying her best to shed light on COVID testing.
PCR testing is considered the gold standard of COVID-19 testing. It is extremely accurate at detecting infections, most definitely determining whether you have COVID-19 infection.
“This virus is an RNA virus. So the PCR test is a super sensitive test that can pick out small amounts of viral RNA,” Kim said.
While antigen tests, a routine rapid test that you can do at home, are less powerful in identifying COVID-19. It looks for proteins or antigens produced by an active virus.
As the virus subsides, there will be less material to measure.
“Because the infection resolves the antigen test more quickly, right? So that’s where it gets a little less sensitive,” Kim said.
Every form of test is valid.
PCR is better at confirming the virus can stay in your system for several weeks after symptoms subside.
Antigens are less sensitive and look for shedding viruses.
If a negative test is needed, PCR may not provide the best results for infection.
“It’s great for diagnostics, but it’s not so great for telling you whether the virus is contagious or not,” Kim said.
The fastest choice and the key to reintegration into public life may be based on a quick outcome selection.
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https://www.winknews.com/2022/01/13/the-differences-between-covid-19-pcr-tests-and-rapid-antigen-tests/ Difference between a COVID-19 PCR test and a rapid antigen test