August 12, 2020

What is the difference between PCR and Antigen Covid Testing?

 The advent of the Coronavirus Pandemic has placed increasing demands on state and local governments to provide adequate testing sites for residents. Many of the testing sites are mobile sites at make shift facilities, and there are some medical facilities that are providing testing for anyone who desires one, or feel that they may need to be tested. It is not necessary to have symptoms in order to get tested. Many test recipients are asymptomatic meaning they do not have the regular symptoms of the disease, but could be a carrier and spread the disease. People who are being tested are hoping their tests come back negative, and most do. The positivity rate for cases in most states are above that which would indicate that the virus is under control. If you have not been tested yet, and feel that there is no reason to be tested, you may want to think twice. You may be one of those who will not exhibit any signs or symptoms of the disease, but you can be at risk of developing the Coronavirus. All precautions should be taken including staying safe at home when possible, observing social distancing when possible, washing hands often, and getting tested.

Although you may get a negative test result when you are tested, it is a safety precaution to be tested again after a few weeks as testing does not guarantee immunity. Testing sites can often be inconvenient for some people, so they decide against being tested. More and more testing sites are being made available for the convenience of all residents of a city. These sites may use two of the popular tests that are being used at the present time. These two tests are antigen testing and pcr testing. There are differences between the two, but both are very effective. The key differences are as follows.

1. Antigen testing, or antigen nasal swab tests, are performed at a point of care facility. This test generally identifies the Coronavirus after symptoms are present or should be present in a person who is asymptomatic. For best results, this test is usually done during days 5 through 10 of symptoms. The administration of this test is one of the easier ones for healthcare professionals mostly because of the nasopharyngeal swab that is used. Antigen testing is also known as rapid testing can have results in 10 to 15 minutes, this can help expedite recovery by allowing effective action to start as soon as possible.

2. PCR testing is also a nasal swab test, but it can also swab in the back of the throat to analyze. This test is taken during the early stages of the Coronavirus after symptoms of the infection are present. The test can identify if an individual presently has the infection, but not if a person has already had the disease. It requires very special equipment, and the time from test to result may vary according to the manufacturer. The pcr test is a high quality clinical grade test that is available comparable to the Emergency Use Authorization of the FDA. This is for CLIA certified diagnostic testing laboratories.

These two tests are used mostly throughout the nation, and other countries to identify the existence of the COVID-19 infection in individuals. The pathogens are found mainly in the nose or throat, and can be easily gathered with a swab. During this Pandemic, these tests are necessary to help identify carriers as well as those who are already actively contagious. Taking the temperature weekly is a way of self assessment that can also inform an individual to whether they need to take one of the tests if there is any alert to outbreak. The majority of residents in any community is opting for the COVID-19 on site rapid testing. Regardless of the test you choose at any particular testing site, the important thing is to be tested. If you are unsure about the testing locations, call your local health department, and they will direct you to the closest one so that you can continue maintain your health.

The difference between the two above mentioned tests is minimal with the most variance being the time lapse from testing to result. The tests are not uncomfortable, but may tingle the nostrils a bit. They are designed for adults and children, and highly recommended for older adults who are the most vulnerable for developing the disease although no one is immune to it, and everyone is at risk. The states and local governments have been diligent about making these two tests available for all their residents in an effort to combat this dreadful disease. Take one of these two tests. They can possibly save your life as well as the life of those who are dear and close to you. You may be given the option of a nasal or a throat swab, but everyone's main concern is to get tested.

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