RT-PCR test and Rapid Antigen Test: How Are They Different?

Rt-pcr covid-19 testing phoenix

Early testing helps to speedy identification of affected people, prompt treatment, and the implementation of all essential preventative measures to avoid disease transmission. COVID-19 testing can identify either the virus, SARS-CoV-2, or antibodies produced by human bodies after infection or antibodies produced after immunization. Each test is unique because it identifies a different aspect of the infection. These tests also differ in terms of test speed and accuracy. The following are the key molecular assays that can detect COVID-19 infection:-

  • Molecular tests (NAAT and RT-PCR).
  • Antigen test
  • Antibodies test

Over time, a considerable amount of effort has been made to make COVID testing seamless, safe, and quick. There are several tests available with RT-PCR testing and Rapid testing being the most availed ones. Although there are over-the-counter at-home testing kits available, people are more inclined to opt for these common methods. Both RT-PCR tests and Rapid Antigen tests are widely available in all testing centers. However, both have their own set of differences. Learn about them here

What is RT-PCR testing?

The RT-PCR test is another name for the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test and is a high-grade used for identifying viral illnesses like SARS-CoV-2 and Ebola. This test is highly sensitive and accurate enough to detect if a person is truly suffering from COVID-19 or not. It can also detect viruses lingering after recovery. The testing process includes:-

  • The pathologist extracts the RNAs (virus’s genetic material) from the sample secretion provided. 
  • The RNAs are generated in the laboratory using a reverse transcriptase enzyme and amplification. 
  • Following the recovery of genetic material, the virus is detected with a fluorescent dye. This process may take up to 8 hours. 

What is Rapid Antigen Testing?

Rapid antigen tests identify the protein found on the outer membrane of the virus. It is fairly a simple and point-of-care test that can take around 15 to 30 minutes to produce results and can be conducted anywhere with ease. Antigen tests are cost-effective in comparison to RT-PCR tests. Although less sensitive it is an efficient approach to monitor a higher rate of COVID-19 infection promptly by conducting mass screening tests in quarantine areas or healthcare settings. With straightforward and fast tests like rapid antigen tests, it is easier to employ infection prevention measures. The testing process includes:-

  • Before conducting a Rapid Antigen test, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer can also be used as an alternative. 
  • A cotton swab is used to collect the sample from the throat and nose and then transferred to the extraction tube, and the test strip.

Note that, although time-saving and inexpensive, results acquired from rapid antigen tests are unreliable and can render false-negative test results. 

How is RT-PCR testing different from Rapid Antigen testing?

Here is a detailed table explaining the difference between RT-PCR testing and Rapid Antigen testing. 

RT-PCR TestRapid Antigen Test
Detects minuscule traces of the virus by multiplexing a little piece of the pathogen’s genetic information.Antigens are protein traces on the virus’s surface that are identified by this assay. 
Because of its superior accuracy, it is more frequently recognized. Will be unable to detect smaller fragments, making it less reliable. 
The test results are available within an hour and are normally acquired within twenty minutes. It is a lengthy process that will take at least a day. 
This is a complex test and is rather pricey.This test is simple and inexpensive. 

Avail of the best RT-PCR testing services at Affordable Rapid Testing

Affordable Rapid Testing has become a house name in Arizona when it comes to reliable and accurate RT-PCR Testing. When you search for ‘RT-PCR test near me’ on the internet, Arizona will be among the top search results. You may get a variety of tests done here, such as Rapid Antigen, Rapid Antibody, and RT-PCR tests along with fit-to-travel certifications. With numerous walk-in testing centers in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, you can book an appointment without any hassle. They are committed to delivering prompt service, and the results are provided within a day. More information is available on their website. 

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