What is a PCR test?
A PCR test detects an infection from the beginning to the end of the disease.
What is the process of infection with the Corona virus?
People are not contagious within the entire course of the virus infection. The risk of infection begins before the outbreak of the infection (as soon as the first COVID19 symptoms appear in them) and it persists during the course of the disease (as long as symptoms are present). Only during this period is the viral load high enough for an infected person to infect fellow humans. Unfortunately, even if an infected person has no symptoms at all, he or she is contagious for several days during the period of high viral load.
What is a rapid test?
A rapid test finds viruses only during the high viral load in the course of the disease. But then also with 99.5% certainty.
Why rapid tests?
- Rapid tests are important to detect infected people. This applies especially to people without symptoms of the disease. If everyone would get tested and if all infected people would go into quarantine, we would get rid of this virus in no time.
- Rapid tests are used to determine if someone is contagious right now and is likely to be contagious in the coming days. With a negative rapid test result, one can be sure not to infect anyone in the next 2-3 days. This reassurance is essential if Corona restrictions are to be lifted in the future: Meetings with friends and family, professional meetings and conferences, restaurant visits, movies, theater, gym, etc. - all of these could reopen if the risk of infection could be eliminated by proving negative test results.
With the rapid test, a certain risk remains: Despite a negative test result, you may already have been infected during the test. You would then be infectious a few days later. A PCR test, which is effective at low viral loads, would have been positive. A rapid test is and remains a snapshot, not a prediction over a period of more than two days.
Why are not exclusively PCR tests offered?
These tests are far more expensive and can only be analysed in the laboratory. Therefore, it takes between 12 and 36 hours until a result is available. For rapid testing of larger numbers of people, this is simply not practical.
What is the difference between self-testing and rapid testing?
There is none. Both tests are Antigen Sars COV 2 Covid 19 rapid tests.
The difference is that "rapid tests" are done by trained personnel. And that the nasal swab is taken further up the nose in rapid tests than in self-tests. Whereby in the meantime it is no longer certain that viruses could not be found further up the nose.
In the self-test, a nasal swab is also taken, but further forward than in the "rapid test". In addition, so-called "spit tests" are offered. In this case, no swab is taken at all, only the secretion is examined.