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Antigen tests?... PCR tests... What's the difference?

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

Antigen tests and PCR tests are both used to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. The main difference between the two types of tests is in how they detect the virus.

A PCR test (polymerase chain reaction test) is a lab-based test that amplifies small amounts of genetic material from the virus to detect its presence. PCR tests are highly accurate and can detect the virus in its early stages. However, they require specialized equipment and trained personnel to perform, and results can take several hours or even days to come back.

An antigen test is a point-of-care test that detects specific proteins from the virus. These tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, but they can provide results quickly, sometimes within 15 minutes. Antigen tests are less expensive than PCR tests, but may have higher rates of false negatives.

We have antigen test kits that you can do at home! Just let us know if you'd like some! They are great to keep at home just in case.

It's important to note that both tests have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the decision of which test to use depends on the specific context and the purpose of the testing. Any questions? Feel free to reach out!


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