Diagnostic tests detect active infections. This is the test you want if you think you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
There are currently two types of diagnostic tests available.
- The molecular real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test detects the virus’s genetic material.
The antigen test detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
- The RT-PCR nasopharyngeal tests are more widely used and more familiar. Most involve sticking a 6-inch swab deep into your nose to collect virus samples to test.