Difference between PCR and Antigen Test

Covid-19 has been around since 2019, and the virus is here to stay. However, we cannot confine ourselves to home boundaries and wait until the world becomes virus-free. Hence, people are slowly returning to normalcy but taking all the required measures to stay safe. The Covid-19 test has become a part of the life of people of all age groups across the world. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people rely on Covid-19 testing to prevent spreading and avoid severe complications. Different testing technologies are available to detect the virus in the human body. However, the most preferred tests are the antigen test and PCR test. We will discuss these tests in the following. Go through it and know which test you can consider while suspecting a Covid-19 infection.

What Is PCR Test?

The PCR test will detect the genetic material to know the presence of the virus. In most cases, the result will be accurate. But the downside is you cannot get the result immediately. You have to wait for days to know whether the virus is in your body or not. You can consider using reliable private labs to get same day accurate results. As an example, Lilium Diagnostic Lab can provide you the PCR test results within 24 hours. They take samples with the deep nasal swab technique and send them for testing. You might need to wait one to three days to know the test results.

What Is Antigen Test?

You can consider an Antigen test to get a fast result within fifteen to thirty minutes. Yes, time is one of the key differences between these two Covid-19 tests. When one takes a couple of days, another can give you the result within half an hour. However, you cannot expect the most accuracy while going through this test. It might give a false negative if you test too late or too early, but it can detect active infections. People prefer this testing since it offers results within minutes and does not need to go through lab processing. Moreover, the cost will be less than the previous one, and you can perform this test at home.

What Are the Differences Between These Two Tests?

The differences are the cost, time, usage, techniques, and accuracy. The antigen test can offer you results within minutes. But you have to wait for days while considering a PCR test. The antigen test will look for some proteins found on the virus surface to detect the infection, but the PCR test will detect and amplify the DNA material of the virus. International travels require PCR tests due to the accuracy, but you need to spend more on the PCR tests. Lilium Diagnostic Lab performs both types of tests and helps with fast and accurate results.

Which Test Should You Consider?

That will depend on the urgency, purpose, and infection stage. As mentioned earlier, the result might be a false negative if you consider an antigen test at a too early or too late stage of the infection. But it can detect any active Covid-19, and you can get the result within minutes. However, a few avoid an antigen test since it gives many false negative and positive reports. You might get a false positive and keep worrying about the infection. The same goes true for a false negative test result. You will behave like you do not have an infection and will not limit your exposure to others. Hence, you can infect your family and friends. For this reason, international destinations do not accept antigen tests.

As revealed by experts, you can expect fifty percent accuracy from antigen tests, but it will be less than thirty percent when it comes to the omicron variant. That means you might test negative while traveling, and the result might show positive upon arrival. Hence, you will face more complications once you reach your destination. However, the result will be the same if you consider a PCR test. It offers the most accuracy, but the cost will be more, and you have to wait for one to three days.

Wrapping It Up

PCR and Antigen tests can detect the presence of Covid-19 using different technologies. However, the waiting time, cost, and accuracy will vary. Sometimes, people consider an antigen test since the testing center does not perform PCR tests. Hence, you can choose a reliable testing center and avail of both technologies.

Recommended For You

About the Author: News Center