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The Differences Between Rapid PCR Vs RT-PCR Covid Testing

With Covid still prevalent in many of our communities, testing remains as important as ever. It’s important to know which test is best for you and your family before making a decision about which to get. Read on to learn the differences between rapid PCR vs RT-PCR testing.

The different types of Covid-19 tests

The rapid PCR test

The rapid PCR test will detect a current Covid infection via nasal swab. It’s designed to detect genetic material belonging to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

PCR test results can be processed onsite and are available the same day, which is perfect if you need to travel or get tested quickly.

The RT-PCR test

The RT-PCR test is sometimes referred to as a ‘molecular’ test. Like the rapid PCR, this test is administered via nasal swab; however, it may also be a saliva or throat swab. This test is considered the gold standard of Covid tests and is highly accurate.

The sample from this test must be sent to a lab for processing, and results are typically available within three business days.

Antigen test

Antigen tests use a different type of technology to detect Covid-19 and are designed to detect certain proteins located on the surface of the virus. This test looks at a sample of fluids that are collected from your sinus cavity or your throat.

Antigen tests are also known as ‘rapid tests’, and results are generally available within fifteen minutes. This test is known to have a higher rate of incorrect results than the RT-PCR test.

Antibody test

The antibody test looks for a prior Covid-19 infection by way of the antibodies that your body develops in response to infection. It requires blood work done via finger stick or a blood draw. This test can either be sent to a lab for processing or processed onsite. This test is ideal if you want to know if your body has been exposed to the virus, but it should not be used to detect a current infection.

The best test for you

When looking at getting tested, the first step is to look at how quickly you need your results. The largest difference between the rapid PCR vs RT-PCR and antigen test is the timeframe.

  • The rapid antigen test provides results in fifteen minutes
  • The rapid PCR test provides results in thirty minutes
  • The RT-PCR returns results within 3 business days

In addition to a timeframe, you should consider accuracy. False positives and false negatives are more common with the antigen test.


In-Home Rapid Tests With Drip Hydration

If you are exhibiting or feeling any symptoms of Covid, you should quarantine yourself and strongly consider an at-home test, which can be scheduled with Drip Hydration in several cities.

Our appointments are easy, quick, and convenient. One of our nurses arrives at your location, administers the test, and provides results. They will also offer guidance if you do test positive.

Give us a call with any questions or schedule your in-home test today!