RT-PCR AND ANTIGEN TESTS

Posted on May 13, 2022 · Posted in Blog, General, Memo Plus Gold, Personal

You may have? a diagnostic Covid-19 testing done to find out if you are currently infected with the virus that causes coronavirus disease – Covid-19.

The Health Authorities have approved these types of tests for diagnosing Covid-19:

  • RT-PCR test. Also called a molecular test, this Covid-19 test detects genetic material of the virus using a laboratory technique called reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A healthcare professional collects a fluid sample by inserting a long nasal swab (nasopharyngeal swab) into your nostril and taking fluid from the back of your nose. A sample may be collected by using a shorter nasal swab (mid-turbinate swab) or a very short swab (anterior nares swab). In some cases, healthcare professional inserts a long swab into the back of your throat (oropharyngeal swab). Or you may spit into a tube to produce a saliva sample.

When the sample is sent to an outside laboratory, RT-PCR tests are very accurate when properly performed by a healthcare professional but the rapid test may fail to detect some cases.

  • Antigen test. This Covid-19 test detects certain proteins in the virus. Using a long nasal swab to get a fluid sample, some antigen tests can produce results in minutes. Others may have to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

A positive antigen test result is considered accurate when instructions are carefully followed. But there is an increased chance of false-negative results – meaning it is possible to be infected with the virus but have a negative result. Depending on the situation, the healthcare provider may recommend a RT-PCR test to confirm a negative antigen test result.

Why Is The Tests Done?

A Covid-19 diagnostic test may be needed if:

  • You have Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, tiredness or shortness of breath.
  • You have had close contact with someone with Covid-19. Close contact means you have been within 6 feet (2 meters) of a person who has Covid-19, or you live with someone with Covid-19. If you have had close contact with someone who has the Covid-19 virus, get tested at least five days after you have had contact with them.
  • Your healthcare provider, other healthcare professional or your public health department may recommend a test if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • You are required to take a test for screening purposes, such as at some schools or workplaces.

You do not need to be tested if you have had Covid-19 in the last three months.

Certain groups are considered high priority for diagnostic testing. These include people with Covid-19 signs and symptoms who:

  • Work in a healthcare facility.
  • Live or work in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, or other places where people are housed closely together, such as prisons or shelters.
  • Are being cared for in a hospital.

Other people may be given priority for testing depending on local health department guidelines for monitoring Covid-19 in individual communities.

Some people who have Covid-19 may not have symptoms (asymptomatic). But they can still spread the virus that causes Covid-19 to others. People with no symptoms can be tested. If people without symptoms have a positive test result, they should follow guidelines for self-isolation to help curb the spread of the virus.

The availability of Covid-19 diagnostic testing and where to get tested may vary depending on where you live based on the recommendations of your local public health officials.

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