What is the antigen test?
A nasal or throat swab collects a sample which is tested to identify proteins (antigens) from the coronavirus.
Because you are experiencing symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19, your antigen test will be run using a rapid method. Here is what you need to know:
- You should remain isolated until your results are complete.
- If your rapid test is negative, a confirmation test will be completed from the sample already taken today.
- Results are typically back within 1 day. Even if the initial test is negative, it is important that you stay isolated until you receive results of the confirmation test.
The following are frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing:
What is the difference between an antigen test and a PCR test?
A COVID-19 antigen test is a rapid test looking for proteins found on the virus. The PCR test looks for pieces of RNA, or genetic material, of the COVID-19 virus. For a more detailed explination of terms, visit the COVID-19 glossary
Is the antigen test reliable?
The antigen test is most reliable for those experiencing symptoms. When an antigen test is negative in someone with symptoms, confirming that result with another method such as the PCR method, is recommended.
Is the antigen test the same test as the antibody test?
No, the antigen test is still looking at active infection by looking for the proteins found on the virus. An antibody test is looking for specific indications that your immune system has had previous exposure to the COVID-19 virus.