There are three diagnostic tests available for the public to detect Covid-19, namely PCR, rapid antigen, and rapid antibody. The three of them are capable of detecting whether someone is exposed to Covid-19. However, the PCR swab tests are considered close to 100% accurate as viral antigens can be detected after a few days of infection, while antibodies will form after 7 or 14 days of exposure.
dr. Titien Budhiaty, M.Sc., Sp.PK., a clinical pathologist at the UGM Academic Hospital (RSA), conveyed the above statements in a discussion entitled “Rapid Antibody, Rapid Antigen, and PCR, What Is the Difference?”, Thursday (28/1).
As is known, PCR swab tests use naso- and oropharyngeal swab samples, rapid antigen tests use nasal swabs, and rapid antibody tests use the patient’s blood.
Titien explained the three diagnostic tests aimed to find out the course of the Covid-19 that entered a person’s body. However, to determine whether the person gets infected with the virus or not, PCR swab results are deemed the most decisive. It is because PCR can determine the presence or absence of the virus. “Meanwhile, the other two focus more on viral antigens and the formation of antibodies,” she said.
A single PCR test is quite expensive, hence still burdensome for some people. According to Titien, if anyone feels they have symptoms such as fever, runny nose, or cough, it does not always lead to Covid-19 indication. It is necessary to consult a doctor because a lot of diseases show almost similar symptoms. “They need to see a doctor and ascertain what kind of disease it is. If necessary, they should complement supporting factors such as lab tests,” she said.
The most common symptoms found in Covid-19 patients, according to Titien, are flu, cough, reduced sense of smell, diarrhea, tiredness, or shortness of breath. “Yet, in other diseases, similar indications also occur. It is important to stay vigilant, always think positive, and try not to get stressed out,” she said.
Author: Gusti Grehenson