Springfield health leaders warn rapid COVID-19 tests might not be as accurate as PCR tests

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:29 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The rapid covid-19 tests get you results in a matter of minutes, but those results may not always be accurate.

Amanda Ritter with CoxHealth Laboratory services says the rapid tests serve a different purpose.

”So a rapid test is usually an antigen it’s not looking at that genetic makeup so it’s usually less sensitive than the PCR testing,” Ritter said.”

The PCR is more accurate because it looks at the RNA of the virus.

”It’s molecular level it’s like the genetic material that makes up the virus so it’s typically the most accurate test you can get for viral testing like this,” Ritter said.

Ritter tells KY3 the rapid tests Cox Health and other companies provide are typically more effective for people showing early signs of COVID-19.

”So what we say if they’ve has symptoms for five days or less the rapid antigen test is a good choice,” Ritter siad.

The CDC recommends if you’re that if you’re still showing symptoms and have received a negative rapid test result you should go back and have a PCR test as well.

”If a patient is being admitted and we get a negative antigen test which is a a rapid test we do back that up with pcr just to be certain before we put them in the hospital,” Ritter said.

If you’re still experiencing symptoms, she said you should contact your provider to see about getting a second test.

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