PCR Test Vs. Rapid Antigen Test: What are the Difference?

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, health authorities tried their best to contain the virus, but to no avail, the virus increased faster than the efforts to contain it. What started as a respiratory disease in a tiny area quickly spread throughout the world, and a quick word of precaution was also sent out to the people worldwide: stay distant, wear a mask, and wash hands. These were the phrases that health experts sent out as they also try to find ways to predict if the virus infected a person. Standard practices such as thermal scans, contact tracing/ interviews, and PCR tests were done in airports as part of their fit to fly COVID test program, as travel is seen as one of the entrances that the harmful virus came to the shores of the countries.

On the other hand, many people ask what COVID-19 test is best for them to take in case symptoms start showing, or in case that they would want to make sure that they are not asymptomatic or become carriers of the virus. To help, here are two of the widely used coronavirus test and their difference.

PCR Test

The Polymerase Chain Reaction test is a gold standard when it comes to COVID-19 testing. It delivers highly accurate results that usually take less than 24 hours to come out with a turnaround time that usually takes 2-3 days. People who want to take the test can go to nearby clinics, hospitals or opt for home PCR tests.

Rapid Antigen Test

Another option for COVID-19 testing is thru the “rapid test.” It got its name due to its quick turnaround time, and results are ready in just 20-30 minutes. Companies with a large number of employees that need to be tested may opt for the rapid test as it is less expensive than the PCR test. Airline companies also do acknowledge results of rapid antigen tests for their fit to fly COVID test.


Learn more about the COVID-19 testing in the UK through this infographic:


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