The Difference Between COVID-19 PCR And Rapid Test

COVID-19 testing is one of the measures of curtailing the spread of the coronavirus. Different tests are available to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 infection. Each test has its purpose, so it’s important to know the available test and when to get them.

Types of COVID-19 test?

Two main types of COVID-19 tests are available.

  • Antigen test

The antigen test also called the rapid test, detects the protein fragments found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. You can get this test at the doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic. The test gives results within a few minutes, usually 15 minutes.

  • PCR Test

The PCR COVID-19 test is the most accurate COVID-19 test and considered the gold standard for SARS-CoV-2 detection. The test identifies the genetic material (RNA) of the virus, and you can get it after a few days of contracting the virus.  You can get this test at a clinic or hospital.

It takes longer to get the result, with most people getting their result 2 – 3 days after the test. However, you can get yours within 24 hours.

Who needs a rapid test?

Experts recommend the rapid test for people showing the COVID-19 symptoms. However, the test is less accurate and misses several active infections.

What does a false positive and negative mean?

People with false-negative results have the coronavirus, but the test gave a negative result. The rate of false-negative is about 50%, especially in rapid tests, and this is not good for curtailing the spread of the virus.

A false positive occurs when the test shows positive, but the patient does not have an active infection.If you think you had a false-positive result, you can get a confirmatory test. Some clinics also offer the COVID-19 antibody testto check if you were previously infected

What can I do if my rapid test is negative, but I have symptoms?

Experts recommend getting a confirmatory PCR test if your rapid test result is negative, but you still experience COVID-19 symptoms. Ensure you get the confirmatory test if you have a high-risk exposure to the virus.

A high-risk exposure occurs when you have more than 15 minutes of close contact with an infected person and was within six feet or 2 metres from the person.

How can I help in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19?

The following measures can help you prevent the spread of COVID-19

  • Wear a face mask
  • Disinfect and clean frequently touched and high-risk surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Use your elbow or disposable tissue to cover your mouth and nose whilecoughing or sneezing, then wash your hands
  • Practise social distancing
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes
  • Remain at home if you feel sick
  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds each time.

If you do not know the right COVID-19 test to take, consult your healthcare provider. If you have COVID-19 symptoms and need to get tested, visit PCR Test London for a same-day COVID-19 test in London or contact us on 020 3137 6952 to schedule an appointment for the test. 

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