Difference between Rapid tests & QPCR tests

Difference between Rapid tests & QPCR tests

Although QPCR tests and rapid antigen tests are relatively effective in detecting the COVID-19 virus in people, they both have their disadvantages and advantages.

QPCR testing is extremely effective in any stage of infection since it detects viral RNA presence. Since the lab is able to detect a COVID-19 infection before it becomes infectious, this method of testing makes it so that medical professionals can easily prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to other people. This is why many medical professionals refer to QPCR testing as the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing. When providing proof of a COVID-19 test, it is often required to result from a PCR test. However, as with everything, QPCR tests have a few disadvantages. Not only do they cost more to produce and use, it also takes much longer to produce results and require well-trained professional staff to handle the samples. Rapid antigen tests usually take from 15 to 30 minutes while QPCR tests take from 1 to 7 days to produce results.

Rapid antigen tests are most effective when the infection is most severe since this means that the COVID-19 protein fragments will be in the highest concentrations. Rapid antigen tests work by detecting protein fragments that are unique to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Detecting protein fragments that come with the SARS-CoV-2 virus do not require lab analysis, only a nasopharyngeal swab to collect samples. However, this comes with several disadvantages. Rapid antigen tests do not produce results that are accurate as QPCR tests. It is relatively common (~50%) for rapid antigen tests to produce false-negative results (Results that show that the patient is not infected when they actually are). This is terrifying as those infected people that think they are healthy will eventually spread the virus to other people. Thus, if you are feeling unwell even though you are technically “COVID-19 negative”, it is a good idea to get the more accurate PCR test. However, rapid antigen tests also have advantages. Not only are they cheap to produce, they also produce results in less than 30 minutes and do not require trained professionals.

However, important as testing can be, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is using preventative methods.
Some preventative methods include:

  • Wearing a face mask
  • Social distancing
  • Staying at home when you are/feel sick
  • Washing your hands often with soap
  • Frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that you touched
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Covering your cough or sneeze

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