COVID-19 PCR diagnostic tests can show if you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This is a molecular test, which is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
PCR tests are considered the most reliable and accurate form of testing for COVID-19. Compared with PCR tests, antigen (rapid) tests offer faster results. However, antigen test results are less reliable because false negatives are more likely to occur.
This is because an antigen test detects specific viral proteins present in the body during an infection. These proteins are not the virus itself, but they indicate the presence of the virus. These tests can only detect these proteins during the peak of infection when the virus is most active and infectious.
A PCR test detects the genetic material of the virus itself by analyzing for presence of RNA in a sample. This eliminates potential interference from other viruses. The results are available within 24 hours of collection.
If you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, especially shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, it’s important to protect your community by getting tested and self-isolating until you have recovered.
Many places around the world still require negative COVID tests for incoming and returning travelers.
Infection cannot be ruled out by a single negative antigen test result. A rapid test does not have the same reliability as PCR tests, especially in people without symptoms. It is recommended that a negative antigen test be repeated at least 48 hours apart to more confidently rule out infection. To confirm the antigen test result, a more reliable follow up test is recommended, such as a PCR or NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test)
The nasal swab test does not require fasting. However, the saliva test requires that patients abstain from eating, drinking, or smoking 30 minutes prior to collecting the sample.
*The COVID-19 test is offered at no cost to patients if they are experiencing symptoms or have had exposure to a person who is possibly positive and has insurance. If they are uninsured, the PCR test costs $50, and the Rapid test costs $20. If they are insured, we will bill their insurance. No copay or deductible will be charged in line with emergency pandemic guidance. Please note public health surveillance & travel testing will incur $100 for PCR testing. Prism Health Lab’s healthcare providers will attempt to contact patients before charging.
Monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 may block the virus that causes COVID-19 from attaching to human cells, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm. Monoclonal antibodies may also neutralize a virus. Eligible to high-risk individuals who have tested positive for COVID within the last 10 days.