PCR or antigen test? Find out the differences

More effective methods are being developed all the time to determine if we are infected with COVID-19. Generally, PCR tests and antigen tests are distinguished. But do you know what the difference is? In today’s post, we will tell you so that you can clarify all your questions.

antigen test

PCR test

This test, which we have heard so much about since the beginning of the pandemic, is a simple test that determines if we are infected with the COVID-19 virus. This is done by taking a sample from the throat with a thin cotton swab through the nasal passages and mouth. Unlike an antigen test, results are known a few hours after the sample is taken, and this is the test with the highest percentage of reliability and sensitivity.

The PCR test is one of the most requested tests when it comes to travel, as it is very reliable in determining if you are currently infected with COVID-19.

Pcr or antigen test

Antigen test

On the other hand, antigen tests are very useful when it is necessary to know which people are at the highest stage of infection, that is, when they may be most infectious. An antigen test, as its name suggests, detects the presence of antigens, which are a protein located on the surface of the virus that is retrieved, just like in PCR tests, through the nose. One of the main differences is speed, as results are available 15-20 minutes after they are done.

Another big difference between the two tests is the sensitivity of the antigen test versus the PCR test; it has a lower percentage sensitivity and therefore less reliability.

When should we take each test?

It is important to inquire about the requirements at the destination before travelling, as the local government or even the city will ask for a PCR or antigen test. Check the COVID-19 test requirements for your destination with your airline and destination government at least one week in advance.

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