When testing for COVID-19, there are some clear evidence as to which test you should get and some not-so-clear reasons.
Today, there are two recognized categories of testing which health care providers recommend to patients who would like to have a Coronavirus test carried out on them; the PCR test and the antigen test.
If you are looking to check for coronavirus in an infected person then this test is the answer. Health care providers carry this out by searching for pieces of the virus in a patient’s sample of saliva or mucus. The test will tell if a person is infected on the day of the test.
How it works: By using a technology called Polymerase Chain Reaction, the medical practitioner carries out this test by using a sample of mucus typically taken from a patient’s nose or throat to look for the genetic material of the coronavirus. If the virus is detectable then the person is actively infected.
An antigen test checks if your immune system has responded to coronavirus. Unlike the PCR test which requires testing mucus or spit, the Antigen test requires testing your blood.
Since your body generates antibodies in response to an infectious agent, this test looks for antibodies to the coronavirus in your blood.
Even though the PCR Test and Antigen Test seek to achieve almost the same thing, they are both completely different.
The only similarity between both tests is that they all require a swap from the back of the nose or throat and they cannot determine if you are contagious if positive
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