COVID-19 is still an issue everyone deals with in some way every day. Because of that, testing is still necessary. Regular testing is one of the safest ways to know your status and avoid infection. There are different types of tests available, many of which can be performed at home. The following are some things you should know about COVID-19 testing:
What Are Rapid Antigen Tests?
A rapid antigen test can provide you with a quick result. The test is simple and fast. You will get your results within minutes. An antigen is a substance in a virus that provokes an immune system response. These responses are in the form of antibodies. In COVID tests, the antigen test will detect this part of the virus. It does not detect genetic viral material.
An antigen test utilizes antibodies made in a lab to detect the viral antigens. The test only requires a nasal swab. The swab is then placed in a solution that contains the lab-made antibodies. The test will detect any reaction and provide any information about viral presence.
If you are in either an early or late stage of the virus, the results may have to be confirmed. When you test early or late, there may not be enough virus that can be detected with an antigen test. You can confirm the test with another type of test.
What Are PCR Tests?
A PCR test is one way to confirm an antigen test. These tests are commonly used in conjunction with an antigen test. If you do not have symptoms but were exposed, you can take a PCR test to confirm if a case exists. If you do have symptoms but you tested negative, a PCR test can confirm whether or not you actually have the virus.
PCR tests tend to be more accurate. These tests work by cycling the genetic material from the test sample through changes in temperatures. The cycling causes reactions that copy the genetic material. The PCR test makes copies of the genetic material to narrow down the presence of a virus. This is why PCR tests are more accurate and provide a confident result.
PCR tests are widely available, and you can begin the testing process at home. Your result should be available within a few days after you send your specimen to the lab for analysis.
COVID-19 testing is still necessary. If you are unsure about which test is best, visit your doctor or a local testing center like Urgent Care Pros for more information.