Corona: Which Test Is Better Rtpcr Or Rapid Antigen? When To Check
Brisbane: With the New Year and Christmas approaching, the risk of Omicron variants of Corona is also increasing continuously. In such a situation, it is important that if you have symptoms of corona or if you have come in contact with the virus, or are going to a high-risk environment, then keep getting tested.
Professor Thea van de Mortel of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Griffith University has given detailed information about corona testing. He told that we have access to RT-PCR test and rapid antigen test to detect the virus that causes SARS-CoV-2 infection. Now the question is, which test should you use? What is the difference between these tests?
How do Tests Work?
The professor said that in Australia, PCR test is done to detect corona infection. This test searches for the genetic material of the corona. RT-PCR converts viral RNA into DNA and amplifies the genetic sequence, creating billions of variants, up to a point where these variants can be detected.
Thia van De said that the test can amplify small amounts of viral genetic material, is considered the gold standard and can detect infection at an earlier stage than other tests such as the rapid antigen test. Instead, rapid antigen tests detect viral proteins. The proteins are added to the antibody solution which becomes fluorescent to indicate the presence of the protein.
He said that the rapid antigen test is faster (not hours or days but 15-20 minutes to get results) than the RTPCR test. Also, compared to standing in line and waiting for a swab, it can be done at home, which is then analyzed in a lab. But they are less sensitive than PCR tests as there is no application process.
How effective are the tests?
The professor said that both the tests are more likely to detect the infection correctly, when the viral load of the person is high, PCR tests are more sensitive than the rapid antigen test.
An Australian study comparing the sensitivity of a one-way rapid antigen test (the exact detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection when you have had it) with a PCR test found that 77% of positive antigen tests resist PCR tests. With the result. He said that when people were tested within a week of the onset of symptoms, this increased to 100%.
When to do which test?
According to the professor, get the RTPCR test done only if you have symptoms of Kovid, have come in contact with someone with Kovid, after positive result of rapid antigen test, because PCR confirmation is necessary. Also, to be free from quarantine or isolation, a health department can get it tested if it is needed. Apart from this, a test may also have to be done on permission from the Health Department to travel to any place.
In these situations PCR test can be done, as it is more accurate in detecting infection. If you are planning to visit a sensitive site or are planning to have contact with someone who is at high risk of covid, then you should get the rapid antigen test done.
Also having symptoms of covid but can’t go to PCR testing center and going to an event where a lot of people will be meeting, especially if it is being conducted indoors where the risk is high even then rapid test Should be done If you want to quickly test whether you may have a COVID infection or are part of a routine COVID surveillance program, a rapid antigen test can still be done.
Rapid test is considered as a testing tool. In other words, it may indicate that you may be infected, but a PCR test is needed to confirm the result. Although a negative rapid antigen test result is not a guarantee that you are not infected, it still provides more protection than not testing your contacts.