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What's the difference between the PCR and antigen tests for COVID-19?
There are two types of tests for COVID-19: the PCR test and the antigen test.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This tests for the presence of the actual virus’s genetic material or its fragments as it breaks down. PCR is the most reliable and accurate test for detecting active infection. PCR tests typically take hours to perform, but some are faster.
- Antigen test: This detects bits of proteins on the surface of the virus called antigens. Antigen tests typically take only 15 to 30 minutes. Rapid antigen tests are most accurate when used within a few days of the start of your symptoms, which is when the largest amount of virus is present in your body.
Which COVID test is more accurate?
The antigen test is typically faster but is less sensitive than the PCR test. Because the antigen test is not as accurate as PCR, if an antigen test is negative, your healthcare provider could request a PCR test to confirm the negative antigen test result.
What do COVID-19 PCR test results mean?
A positive test result means that it's likely that you have an infection with SARS-CoV-2. This could be due to asymptomatic infection, but if you have symptoms, then this infection is called COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and can recover safely at home without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse or if you have questions or concerns.
A negative test result means you probably didn't have an infection with SARS-CoV-2 at the time your specimen was collected. However, it's possible to have COVID-19 but not have the virus detected by the test. For example, this may happen if you recently became infected but you don’t have symptoms yet — or it could happen if you've had COVID-19 for more than a week before being tested. A negative test doesn’t mean you are safe for any length of time: You can be exposed to
When should i get tested?
You should get tested if you have the following symptoms
- Fever or chills.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Muscle or body aches.
- New loss of taste or smell.
- Sore throat.
- Congestion or runny nose.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Not everyone with COVID-19 develops symptoms. And not all symptomatic people develop all of the symptoms listed above. Please check with your healthcare provider if you’re feeling unwell during the COVID-19 pandemic — even if you’ve been vaccinated.
How long does it take to get coronavirus test results?
You should receive your test results as early as 24 hours after sample collection, but sometimes it can take a few days, depending on how long it takes the sample to reach the laboratory.
How long do you test positive after having had COVID-19?
Because the PCR test is so sensitive, it can detect very small amounts of virus material. This means that the test can continue to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2 virus even after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer contagious. So you may continue to test positive if you've had COVID-19 in the distant past, even though you can’t spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.
Prolonged infection in immunocompromised individuals can occur where they shed infectious virus for months. Also, healthy people can become reinfected. If you test positive for SARS-CoV-2 but you think you might have already recovered from COVID-19, please discuss with a healthcare provider.
What is a Drive-Thru Test?
The Drive Thru test is the most efficient method for diagnosing an active coronavirus infection, while minimizing the further spread of the contagious disease. Studies have shown that the risk of coronavirus transmission is significantly lower outdoors and in well-ventilated areas, so drive-through tests allow for higher safety standards than office visits.
Research conducted by the University of Georgia and published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that coronavirus transmission rates are higher in an indoor space compared with an outdoor area. The researchers found that an individual infected with COVID-19 was able to transmit the disease to dozens of other people inside a non-ventilated bus, while infecting very few people in a large outdoor worship event.
Is KPMC registered to conduct Covid testing?
Yes, KPMC is registered with Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) to conduct COVID testing under “SENARAI FASILITI SWASTA YANG MENJALANKAN SARINGAN COVID-19 DI DALAM KAWASAN PREMIS”.
The registered list can be found at
Hospital Swasta dan Klinik Swasta berdaftar untuk Saringan COVID-19 | COVID-19 MALAYSIA
Pusat Info COVID-19 di Malaysia oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) | Malaysia COVID-19 Info Center by Ministry of Health (MOH), Malaysia