COVID-19 is a pandemic that affected not only the economy and livelihood of most people but more importantly our health, especially those who already have underlying medical issues such as diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure since they are at risk to develop serious sickness.
Currently, there are two types of tests to check if a person is infected with the Covid 19 virus. The polymerase chain reaction or PCR test is a diagnostic or molecular type of test. This type of test looks for the coronavirus genetic material in the person’s body.
The CDC or Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has vetted the PCR tests as the best type of test to check for the virus. The other type of test is the antigen test which are quick tests that don’t need lab analysis and can produce findings in as little as 15 minutes. But the question is just how accurate they are compared to PCR tests.
Accuracy of the rapid tests
Just how accurate are rapid antigen test kits? These antigen test kits are more accurate when tested on someone that is already exhibiting Covid 19 symptoms. In fact, 72% of the time the tests produce accurate results. If you are already having symptoms of the virus, then you are safe to use this antigen test kit because the probability of a correct result is higher. However, the percentage of accuracy when used on someone who is not showing any symptoms drops significantly to only 58%.
When you use the test kids also affect its accuracy. When you use it during the first week that you have shown any symptoms the accuracy is 78.3%. But if you use it in the second week, the percentage of accuracy falls to 51%.
The brand also matters. If you will be using these test kits to check whether you have the Covid 19 virus or not make sure that you use a recognized manufacturer. One brand only scored 34% accuracy of Covid 19 results while a more well-known brand tested 88% accuracy.
With these rapid testing kits, there is still a possibility of the test yielding false positive results. However, they are quite rare. This happens when you test positive for Covid 19 even though you really don’t have the virus, then this is what is called a false positive. If you will be using these kids to check whether you have the virus or not it is recommended that you do a PCR test if you tested positive using these kids just to make sure.
A false negative on the other hand is the counterpart of a false positive. It happens when the test kits give you a negative result even if you are experiencing some Covid 19 symptoms. When this happens, you need to confirm whether you are really negative by having a more precise PCR test to determine if you really have the virus or if it’s just simple flu.
When it comes to our health it doesn’t hurt to be sure. After all, it is still better to be safe than sorry, and even if the pandemic is not as intense as it was before we still have to be careful since the virus is still present.