If you are suffering from illness. You might be looking for options for testing. There are several types of tests that are available in the market. It is very confusing to decide which test is best for you. In the era of COVID-19, you might be familiar with terms like PCR, rapid testing, and antibody testing. But you may not necessarily know what is the basic difference among them.
In this article, we will discuss various types of COVID-19 tests and their respective differences. We will also try to clarify the indications after which you should see a doctor.
Types of COVID-19 tests
- Viral test
A viral test will indicate a viral infestation. It will indicate whether you are infectious with SARS COVID 2 virus or not. This testing uses the samples that are collected from your nose or mouth. There are 2 types of viral tests that are preferred by doctors. The first one is a rapid test and the second one is a laboratory test. The rapid test may include several types of tests including antigen tests and can be performed either by yourself or at under the care of a specialist.
on the other hand, laboratory testing may take multiple days to complete and generally include PCR tests.
- Antibody test
Antibody test is commonly known as serology test. This test is based on your immune response 2 words the virus causing COVID-19. Your immune system produces antibodies against COVID-19 virus which are detectable. These antibodies are a result of COVID-19 infection in your body.
Health professionals abide to prescribe an antibody test for those individuals who priorly suffers from COVID-19 infection. As well as those individuals who have immunity towards SARS COVID 2 virus.
The basic difference between a PCR testing and a rapid testing.
Of the test mentioned above have similar purposes. In spite of having similar functions, they have varied roots to achieve their purpose.
- Rapid testing
Rapid antigen test are recently developing tech to provide facilitation in testing. These can provide you with the ability to test whether you are COVID-19 positive or not at your home. They give prominent results if the amount of virus is overwhelming in your system.
Rapid testing can be done by yourself at your own choice. It provides the freedom of choice and facilitates the idea of testing at will. Production of results takes place approximately 1 hour. These tests are generally very cheap compared to a polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests. They are very convenient in terms of differentiating cold and flu symptoms from COVID-19.
The main disadvantage is the lack of accuracy provided by rapid testing. The lack of accuracy is due to its dependence on the sample. They generally give wearing results to the different samples of the same person. They have a high probability of user error which can affect your results.
- PCR testing
PCR polymerase chain reaction tests are still the most administered test by health professionals. these tests are very accurate in nature than rapid antigen tests. They can easily determine whether the body is under the infestation of COVID-19 or not. PCR testing can even detect very small quantities of viruses. They are very useful in determining whether you have contracted the virus. Or not much sooner than any antigen test
However, their accuracy is more of a bane and not much of a boon. Because PCR test is so sensitive it’s sometimes provided a false positive result. PCR tests are generally expensive when compared to antigen tests.
Which test you should prefer?
When it comes to the decision of which test you should use, there are no selective answers. Both of the tests have their own advantages and disadvantages. Both of the tests are beneficial from their own perspective.
if you want a very accurate result, you should go for a PCR test. especially when you are just experiencing minor symptoms. But as we have mentioned earlier PCR tests may remain positive after several weeks of infestation. This makes PCR not optimum for determining the end of isolation of quarantine.
in case you are symptomatic. you may be more leaned towards a rapid testing kit. Health professional suggests taking at least 2 rapid tests in a time interval of 5 days. If both the tests remain negative and you remain asymptomatic a majority of probability indicates that infection is absent. However, if the tests come negative but you still manage to develop symptoms you should go for a PCR. In severe cases please consult your respective health professionals.
Both the PCR and antigen tests are reliable for testing against COVID-19. Every individual has their own respective dilemma regarding COVID-19. Which test you should prefer depends on your mindset and your situation. Both testing types have their own merits and demerits. For accurate support and further assistance never hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider and develop a testing plan that’s optimal for you.