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Rapid or PCR test: Which should you take?

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More and more people are turning to rapid COVID tests, which give results in minutes as opposed to days.

But according to Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, people who are showing symptoms whose rapid tests come back negative should also get a PCR test.

The PCR test is considered the “gold standard” when looking for accurate results.

This form of testing detects the genetic material that’s why the turnaround time is longer.

The rapid tests only detects protein fragments of the virus.

This why the CDC suggests if you are symptomatic and receive a negative rapid result, seek a second negative.

“It’s always best to follow up with a PCR test just to make sure we’re capturing the virus and you’re not going out there and spreading it. Because an individual may have, not have enough of the virus shedding at time to pick that up on the antigen tests,” said Renae Moch, the Director of Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health.

Moch also says it’s all about timing. A person who is tested early in the infection, when the virus is still replicating inside the cells, may not have developed enough protein fragments to be picked up by rapid tests.

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