A PCR test tells you if you have COVID-19 right now and could spread it to other people. A PCR test looks for the genetic material of the virus. It is a very accurate test. A healthcare worker uses a nasal swab to collect a sample from your throat, behind your nose.
An antigen test is a new kind of COVID-19 test. You can get results in minutes. An antigen test looks for proteins found on or within the virus. It tells you if you have COVID-19 right now and could spread it to other people. Like a PCR test, a healthcare worker uses a nasal swab to collect a sample from your throat, behind your nose. Antigen tests are very accurate. However, there is a higher chance of having a false negative test result. This means if you test negative for COVID-19 with an antigen test, you may also need to get a PCR test to make sure you don’t have COVID-19.
Serology or antibody test
Serology, or antibody tests, may be able to tell if you have ever been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive antibody test does not guarantee immunity to COVID-19. A sample of your blood is collected and is used to see if your body has made antibodies to the virus. Your body makes antibodies when it fights an infection. Antibodies in your blood mean, at one time, you were exposed to COVID-19. Antibody tests find these antibodies in your blood and tell you if your immune system has responded to the infection. More information on the antibody test can be found below.