How Are PCR and Antigen COVID-19 Tests Different?

Consider our chart’s helpful facts when choosing which test is right for you.

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November 18, 2021

Not sure which COVID-19 test to use? It all comes down to medical value, said Jamie P. Deeter, MS, Ph.D., a molecular virologist at Roche Diagnostics who specializes in coronaviruses and has helped launch three SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests.“If you don’t have symptoms, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the best option,” she said. “If you’re within a week of symptom onset, antigen tests can give you a quick result before you go to work or an event.” 

This chart highlights the key differences between rapid antigen and PCR tests. Consider these facts when choosing which test is right for you.

How are PCR Tests

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