The different kinds of COVID-19 tests: What’s the best option for me?

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EMS technician Emmanuel Orrego, left, administers the COVID-19 PCR test to Yosdany Lugo, Monday, July 26, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT) – As our second holiday season in a pandemic approaches, many people are looking at testing to determine if it’s ok to be near loved ones again.

But what is the difference between the different COVID tests available, and what one should you get?

There are two main types of the COVID-19 test – the viral test and the antibody test.

The viral test looks for current infection, and those can be broken down into the Molecular/PCR test and the Antigen test.

If you’re already sick, check with your doctor and see if they can prescribe the best and most accurate test for you.

If you’re just getting a test on your own, the Antigen tests (used at rapid testing sites) typically have a faster result while Molecular/PCR tests can be more accurate.

Antigen tests work to detect specific proteins in the virus, while the Molecular/PCR tests detects genetic material from the virus.

There’s also at home tests, some of which can be purchased at a drug store and done at your convenience.

No matter what test you get, there’s still a possibility for false negatives or positives, so be sure to follow up with your healthcare provider.

If you’re still sick but have a negative result, you should still practice measures such as hand washing, wearing a mask and practicing social distance.

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