Rapid antigen testing detects protein fragments of the coronavirus, so the virus needs to reach sufficient levels to be detected. They can be performed by non-medical personnel and return results in 15- 30 minutes. Antigen tests are only slightly more complicated than a home pregnancy test. These tests are good at detecting viral loads that correspond with a person’s period of infectiousness.
In a recent UCSF study, rapid antigen tests were able to detect individuals that had recently been infected, even before they started showing symptoms. Given the low cost and quick result turnaround, rapid tests are best used for frequent screening. They are also the best choice for confirming a person is no longer infectious after they have undergone quarantine.
SAFER TOGETHER HAS ACCESS TO RAPID ANTIGEN TEST KITS & CAN TRAIN YOUR TEAM ON HOW TO USE THEM
Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR) are considered the gold standard in COVID-19 testing because of their high sensitivity and are often required as a confirmatory test. Typical costs can be $100 per test and turnaround time can be days instead of minutes.
PCR testing detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus. These tests can detect the virus within days of infection, even at low viral loads. However, they can also detect the low level presence of virus long after a person has quarantined and after they are no longer contagious, so should not be used to confirm whether a person remains infectious.
SAFER TOGETHER CAN CONDUCT A LOW VOLUME OF PCR TESTS AS NEEDED WITH OWN EQUIPMENT