PCR vs Quick Covid-19 Test: What’s the Difference?

Today we want to explain the difference between PCR vs Quick COVID-19 test. Planning to test some time soon? You may be wondering what is the difference between RT-PCR test vs fast COVID-19 test. Before you test yourself, read the article below. Find out what their differences are and learn more to better inform your decision before testing yourself for the virus.

Who should be tested?

Before you test yourself and find out which test is best for you, it is a good idea to decide if you should test. Although you can get the test regardless, if you fall under any one of these categories then you are especially a great candidate who should be tested.

  • You may be showing signs of COVID-19 virus infection or flu-like symptoms.
  • You were close to someone who tested positive for the virus.
  • You Travel plans Or going to attend a rally.
  • You are about to meet someone who may be immunocompromised.

RT-PCR test

Now that you know if you should get tested, let’s take a look at the difference between an RT-PCR test and a quick antigen test. Let’s start with an RT-PCR test.

How it works

An RT-PCR test detects the presence of viral DNA in samples you send. That way, you’ll need to send your sample to the lab to get results because it has to go through the “magnification” process.


The RT-PCR test is the most reliable test in terms of accuracy. If you want to get the test that gives the most reliable results, then this is the test you take. You do not have to worry about getting false positives when you take RT-PCR.


Although the RT-PCR test is the most reliable, it lags behind in terms of speed of results. Since it needs to be in the lab for a few days, you can expect some time to get results.

Other than that, RT-PCR testing is expensive. Thus, many people do not think it is an accessible test to take. Therefore, if you have a limited budget, you may be hesitant to consider taking the RT-PCR test.

Rapid COVID-19 antigen test

Now that you know a little more about what an RT-PCR test is, how it works, and its advantages or disadvantages, the next thing we’ll cover is a quick antigen test.

How it works

Antigen testing, or rapid testing, detects the presence of proteins attached to the outside of the virus. It will then mimic what your antibodies do and attach itself to the presence of this protein. This will show the presence of the virus by drawing a colored line in the test area of ​​the test strip you have taken.


The biggest advantage of the Covid-19 antigen test faster than the RT-PCR test is that the results are available within minutes. You do not have to send your samples to a lab. Other than that, you can take it anywhere and you don’t need your healthcare professional to take the test with you.

Another advantage of antigen testing is its affordability. For example, a Helgen covid test You can buy it for as little as 2.79 for a single kit. You can even buy a bundle of it for extra storage and save time if you need to retest (which you probably need).


The only downside to using an antigen test is that it is less sensitive. Thus, its results are not as reliable as those of RT-PCR. However, this test is best known for producing false negatives rather than false positives. Therefore, if you test positive for it, it is safe to assume that you are currently infected.


Now that you know the main differences between the two, you should be able to make more informed decisions about which test to take for your needs. If you ever need to take a COVID-19 test, remember what you learned about the tests here so you know which test you should take.

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