Ever since the pandemic took the world by storm, citizens have spent their time following strict SOPs and essential safety precautions. With over 3.2 million COVID-19 cases in the US, everyone has realized the infection’s seriousness and complied with measures to curb the spread of this virus.
The two tests administered for COVID-19 include PCR tests and rapid tests (also known as antibody tests). We’re here to tell you whether the test results from rapid COVID-19 tests are accurate:
What Do the Rapid Tests Measure?
Before explaining what rapid tests measure, it is essential to understand how antibodies work. When a person is infected, the white blood cells in the body start building protection to fight off the disease. By the time the virus leaves the body, it takes around two weeks for antibodies to develop to fight the virus in the future.
Rapid tests measure whether your body has COVID-19 antibodies present, which would signify that you have been infected at some point in the past and your body has produced the antibodies to fight off the virus.
Different Types of COVID-19 Antibodies:
The different types of COVID-19 antibodies tests include:
Binding Antibodies: This type of antibody test is more common and mainly measures what rapid tests measure, whether antibodies are present in your body because of a past infection. However, they cannot test the efficacy of the immune response in your body.
Neutralizing Antibodies: A much more novel test, this test sets out to find the strength of your immunity against the virus. That is, whether your antibodies are successful in fighting the virus.
Are Rapid COVID-19 Tests Accurate?
The real question is whether the rapid COVID-19 test gives accurate results or not. Going back to how antibodies work, it is essential to note that antibodies take around two weeks to form after the virus has left the body. After around a month, the antibodies will start to decline over time, which is not a reason for any alarm. This depletion does not indicate that you are losing protection against the virus.
However, the rapid COVID-19 test may not detect the antibodies once a person has recovered as the antibodies take time to form. After a certain period when they diminish, the results may not be highly accurate.
Therefore, a PCR test is recommended if you feel any symptoms or chances of an infection.
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