Do you need to test for COVID-19 but can’t make a choice? You may read this post to know the difference between various COVID tests.

Here are all the details you need, from the COVID antibody test, COVID antigen test, to COVID day 2 lateral flow test, this post covers it all. 

woman holding facemask to screen

Diagnostic Testing

As the name suggests, diagnostic tests are helpful for detecting the COVID-19 virus in the UK. In addition, these tests are further divided into two types:

Molecular Testing

Molecular testing is also commonly known as PCR testing, or else you may simply call it RNA testing. They are highly authentic and play a major role in identifying active strains of the coronavirus. The testing procedure consists of collecting mucus from the nose and throat. 

A long swab is inserted into your nasal cavity for collecting mucus from the depth of your nostrils and throat’s back. These samples are then sent to labs, where experts would inspect them for the genetic material of the virus.  

Antigen Testing 

Antigen testing or Rapid testing is also a reliable COVID-19 test. They also extract mucus samples with the same swabbing process to look for COVID-19 antigens. However, your sample is not sent to the labs, and you can get your result sooner compared to molecular testing. Moreover, these tests are mostly conducted on drive-thru test sites. 

In addition, rapid testing can identify the virus accurately. However, the COVID-19 antigens can take up some time before they appear in your body. So, it’s likely that you can result negative for COVID-19 while still being infected.

two hand fistbumping with latex gloves

TB Later Flow Testing

The TB lateral flow test is a point-of-care device used to detect the presence of TB bacteria in a patient’s sputum. The test uses two distinct lines of lysis buffer that flow lateral to each other. The test strip contains a bacterial antigen in the form of characteristic coloured bands. The sandwich immunoassay format enhances the selectivity of the detection signal. The appearance of both test and control lines indicates a positive result, while the absence of these lines is an invalid result. Therefore, the test must be repeated to confirm a negative result.

What Test is Better?

Since the COVID antibody test does not indicate your present status for the COVID-19 virus, you should rely on it for diagnosing the virus. 

On the other hand, rapid testing is a fast COVID-19 test with certain limitations. The antigen testing can detect COVID-19 antigens in your body in a short span of time. However, these antigens may not indicate their presence at the time of testing. 

For instance, you met someone who is COVID-19 positive. So, you rush to the nearest testing centre to get yourself tested. However, all you get is a negative result. This does not mean you are COVID-19 free at all because the antigens have not acted up yet. In addition, you may develop symptoms after a few days and test positive. 

Therefore, all this leaves PCR testing as a reliable way for COVID testing

How Long You Must Wait for Results?

Molecular testing requires in-depth analysis, so you may have to wait for a day or two to find out your results. Similarly, antibody tests also take at least 24 hours or more to show results. In contrast, you can have your results at hand within 30 minutes or so.