When you think of COVID testing, you likely think of the most commonly administered test in your area. When you got tested, you may have had to spit into a container or have a swab inserted into your nose. There are many types of COVID tests approved for emergency use by the FDA.
This video covers the most common tests available.
Molecular tests are typically done using samples collected with nasal swabs. These tests include PCR tests. They look for certain parts of the virus in a sample, including specific proteins or RNA sequences. Patients typically don’t get the results from these tests right away, but the results they do get are very accurate.
Rapid Antigen Tests
These tests look for antigens, which are part of the virus. They can find these substances quickly. In fact, some tests give results in just 15 minutes. While they are exceptionally useful due to their speed, the results they give simply aren’t as accurate as results from molecular tests.
These tests require blood samples instead of nasal samples. They can test for antibodies from previous cases or from vaccines. They are not useful for diagnosing COVID-19.