As Covid-19 cases increase, so does the need to test more people.
The reason for this is to have accurate and reliable tests Proven to be an effective way to slow the spread of the coronavirus to save lives and reduce the burden on health systems.
There are two types of Covid-19 tests – Polymerase chain reaction test (PCR) and rapid antigen – recommended by the government to test for the virus.
What’s the difference?
According to the government, PCR tests are the “gold standard” for Covid-19 tests.
A sample is taken from the nose or Hals and sent to a laboratory where it will undergo a process to check if the virus is present.
PCR tests are used to diagnose active Covid 19 infection recommended. Results are usually available within a day.
“A PCR test is a molecular method that detects genetic material in the virus and is very accurate, but the results take about 24 hours Hours.” said government.
Antigen tests are cheaper, give a result in about 15 minutes, but are less accurate.
A quick one The antigen test works by looking for proteins on the surface of the virus. As with PCR testing, samples are usually taken from the nose or throat, but can be tested in the field.
The World Health Organization said that antigen tests usually have high specificity, which is what means that the probability of false positives is low, but they are significantly less sensitive than PCR tests.
Which test is likely to detect Omicron?
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases there is evidence that PCR testing is the Omicron variant of the virus
The tests, the cost of which has been reduced from R850 to R500 , are used to determine whether specific genetic material from the coronavirus is present.
“A PCR test is a test based on nucleic acids, in the case of Covid-19 RNA. The test uses a range of enzyme technologies to accurately detect genetic markers specific to Covid-19, “the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research told TimesLIVE.
The institute said, that the tests according to multiple targets, if a variant is available.
“The PCR tests typically detect at least two different SARS-CoV-2 targets, which in the case of. a mutation that arises in one serves as a backup.
“An analysis of the mutations in the nucleocapsid (N gene) of B.1.1.529 viruses suggests that antigen – Rapid tests should remain unaffected. However, this is in progress, “it says.