With the rise of corona there were few words that became popular among the people such as Quarantine, PCR, Lock Down, Isolation etc. Rapid Antigen Test is one of them. But how much do you know about it? What is an Antigen? What is the difference between PCR and Rapid Antigen Test? Is it reliable? There are so many questions! In this post you will have your answers.
What is an Antigen?
Antigen is a molecular structure that is capable of stimulating an immune response. They may present on the out side of a germ. There are two types of antigens. They are Foreign Antigens or Exogenous Antigens and Endogenous Antigens. Foreign antigens originate outside of the body such as viruses, bacteria, snake venom, red blood cells from another individual and certain proteins in food.
Endogenous Antigens originate within the body. Usually our body can identify Foreign Antigens from Endogenous Antigens except people who has autoimmune disorders.
If a person is infected with a virus then that person has the antigen within his body.
What is the Different Between Rapid Antigen Test and PCR Test?
In the PCR test the genetic materials are tested which is considered as best standard detection test. Which shows positive results even for a smallest amount of virus population but in an Antigen test the virus population needs to be a lot bigger.
The PCR test can only be done in a specific laboratory where the necessary machines at but an Antigen test can be done at the doctors clinic.
Is Rapid Antigen Test Reliable?
Well, Rapid Antigen Test is not 100% accurate. There is a possibility that the result could be false. They are called the false negative and false positive rates.
The false negative rate means that you do not show any symptoms and even the test shows that you are negative but there is a chance that you may have the symptoms. The false negative rate is large as 50% which you might be negative in your test result but you may be actually infected by the virus.
The false positive rate means that you don’t have the disease but the test shows positive. But the false positive rate is very low. That means if your test result shows that you are positive then you are actually infected.
Why Rapid Antigen Test instead of PCR?
PCR is a very long and expensive procedure which may take days to get the actual test result. But Rapid Antigen Test is less expensive and within few minutes we can get the actual result. And the fact that the antigen test could be done at a doctors clinic makes it easier and affordable to many people.
But due to the false negative rate which is so high, It is best to do a PCR test as well in order to confirm that you are not infected with the virus.
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