Which Type of Test is Best for Covid?
Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR is one of the two types of testing on offer for Covid-19 – the other is antibody testing. Understanding the two types of test currently available, how they work and in what circumstances they are applicable is an important way to keep safe and to protect other people who may be vulnerable. Pearl Chemist Group offers the rapid antigen test in Earlsfield, the PCR test in Wandsworth and the antigen swab test in Wimbledon. Discuss all your Covid concerns with us and stay safe.
Testing for COVID-19
There are two types of COVID-19 tests, the PCR covid test or the serologic tests. Both of these tests use different kinds of samples to search for different hallmarks of the Covid-19 virus.
The PCR covid test detects the genetic information of the virus, the RNA, and that is only possible if the virus is present and that person is actively infected. PCR tests detect the presence of an antigen rather than looking at the person’s immune response for any antibodies. By detecting viral RNA, the disease can be picked up much earlier as viral RNA is present in the body before antibodies form or any symptoms of the disease are present. So the PCR covid test can detect the virus very early on.
What is Serologic Testing?
Serologic testing, or the antibody test, reveals what proportion of people have had the infection but it won’t reveal who is currently infected as antibodies are generated a week or two later by which time the virus has usually left the body. An antibody test is an indicator of immunity but Covid is such a new disease that is not possible to tell yet how long a period of immunity Covid-19 will offer once a person has recovered from the illness.
The Reliability of Covid Tests
The PCR covid test has a false negative rate of up to 30% due to errors in how the sample is obtained – particularly if the patient is doing it themselves – and sometimes errors in analysis. So the PCR Covid test is really more helpful for confirming the presence of an infection rather than giving patients the all-clear.
Book an appointment for the rapid antigen test with Pearl Chemist Group in Earlsfield. We also offer the PCR test in Wandsworth and the antigen swab test in Wimbledon. Find out more on our website https://www.pearlchemistgroup.co.uk/