Local doctor addresses which COVID test is most accurate

Written by on March 3, 2021

Local doctor addresses which COVID test is most accurate

By Brittany Sweeney

March 2, 2021

A worker verifies a coronavirus drive-thru testing appointment at a Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) station in Curtis Bay, Md., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Maryland opened three drive-thru testing sites for residents who are symptomatic or at high risk of complications from COVID-19. The tests are offered at three vehicle emissions testing sites in Anne Arundel, Charles and Harford counties. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Those looking to get a COVID test can now have a choice. There are two tests that produce results in a matter of minutes the other one can take a few days. But which is most accurate?

Listen to the story.

Of the three types of COVID-19 tests on the market right now, Dr. Michael Carnathan of Arrow Primary Care in Bethlehem, says there are actually three choices: a rapid antigen test, a rapid molecular PCR test, and a standard molecular PCR test.

“The rapid antigen test is less accurate than the molecular rapid molecular test or the rapid PCR test. That one is most likely to have a false negative result than the other ones,” Carnathan says. 

If you get a positive with any test, he adds, you should consider yourself infected.

He says no matter which test you choose, the most critical part is that you wait 5 to 10 days after exposure before getting the test for it to be accurate.


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