HomeHealthPCR, antigen tests, serological tests … How are they, what are they for (and what not for) each of the tests that detect the coronavirus
PCR, antigen tests, serological tests … How are they, what are they for (and what not for) each of the tests that detect the coronavirus
October 5, 2020
Even Rosalía had her test to detect the coronavirus wrong this summer. And is that between some options and others it is difficult to clarify which type of test is better. Those who have already gone through the annoying PCR sigh for the quick and comfortable saliva tests at London airport and while, on Twitter, the networks do not stop pouring unfavorable comments if the new antigen tests that have been approved are of much use, Little or nothing. It is the best time to review everyone the tests that we have to detect the coronavirus and that it is clear to us once and for all what they are for, how they are done and in which cases one or the other is used.
What does each type of coronavirus test detect?
To understand the differences between the different types of tests we must take into account what the coronavirus is like. If you have seen a newscast in the last six months you will have become familiar with its shape: a small ball covered with "spikes". As well, Inside that ball is the DNA of the virus and those "spikes" that surround the outer layer of the virus are the famous antigens.
Antigens are the "keys" that the virus uses to enter our cells. And why do you want to enter them? Well, once inside the virus uses the resources of the cell to replicate their own DNA and thus multiply and expand throughout the body. Antigens are very useful for the virus, but they are also detectable by our defenses.
When the defenses locate antigens, they know that something is wrong and launch an immune response: this is when the antibodies, whose function is to "cling" to the virus antigens, come into action so that they are "marked" so that the rest of the body's defenses can destroy that virus.
As well each type of test measures a specific thing in this entire processThat is why a PCR is not the same as an antibody test, nor do they offer the same information.