PCR vs. Rapid COVID-19 Test: What’s the Difference?
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, you’ve undoubtedly heard plenty about coronavirus testing and what types are available. You’ve likely also learned the location of your nasopharyngeal cavity and can probably list all of the major coronavirus symptoms at a moment’s notice. But, do you know the differences between PCR and rapid COVID-19 testing? Let’s take a closer look.
Rapid antigen testing is a popular choice for reasons you can probably guess. This test provides “rapid” results, often within 24 hours. Rapid antigen testing screens for proteins related to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory illness known as COVID-19. This test may involve providing a saliva sample or a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab. The accuracy of rapid antigen testing is improving, though it’s still possible to receive a false positive or negative result.
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing is considered to be the gold standard of coronavirus screening, delivering highly reliable results without the need for retesting. This method tests for the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 and most often involves a nasopharyngeal swab, which is known to cause a few seconds of mild discomfort.
Fast Track Urgent Care offers both PCR and rapid COVID-19 testing at our fully equipped immediate care centers in Silver Spring and Kensington. We’re committed to offering the very latest advancements in diagnostics to our patients, which is why we’re so pleased to provide simple and convenient saliva-based PCR tests at our Silver Spring location. To learn the latest COVID-19 updates from our team, click here or give our friendly professionals a call today.