CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – As more COVID rapid tests become available you might be thinking about what type of test is best to get.
COVID testing sites are seeing thousands of people every day, but what’s the difference in tests that are out there if you’re looking to see if you have COVID-19?
Currently, there are PCR COVID tests and the rapid tests like the Binax Now or iHealth kits. The PCR is the original one, the nose swap that goes to a lab and takes at least 24-hours to come back with results.
Whereas the rapid test takes 15 minutes and gives you the results right there on the test. The rapid is very accurate if you are symptomatic and positive because it looks for COVID antigens or proteins which you have a lot of in the first one to seven days of being symptomatic.
Yet, Baystate Health told 22News, it does have a 10 to 15 percent false negative chance.
“If you are symptomatic and you get a negative test, it is recommended that you follow up with a PCR because the PCR test could be a lot more sensitive because its looking for the RNA and DNA of the actual virus,” said Patrick Leonardo, AMR western Massachusetts operations manager.
One of the biggest differences between the tests is the size of the swab, for the PCR test, it’s a smaller one that goes into a test tube but for the rapid test its presumed that you’re symptomatic so it’s a longer swab to give more room between you and the person you’re testing
The PCR test is five seconds in each nostril, the rapid is 15 seconds but both don’t hurt.