Coronavirus: antigenic test VS PCR test, which screening method should you turn to?

Published by Rizhlaine F. · Published on 12 November 2020 at 18h40 · Updated on 12 November 2020 at 18h40
As the second coronavirus epidemic wave is hitting France, screening methods are changing. Henceforth, there are antigenic tests – quicker – and PCR tests – more reliable. Who are they for? Here is how to know which screening method you should turn to.

We were all expecting it and here it is: the famous second epidemic wave of coronavirus is hitting France this Fall 2020. To face the exponential increase in infections, French people could not escape another nationwide lockdown. But this time, unlike the first wave that took everyone by surprise, new means are available to fight against the epidemic.

As for screenings, the arrival of the quick “antigenic” tests in France could enable to improve detecting new coronavirus cases. The flaw is that even though they deliver results in 15 minutes, they are less reliable than PCR tests – longer – we had so far. According to the ARS, their reliability is under 60%.

So, should you get a quicker but less reliable test or a more reliable but longer test? Depending on your situation, here is what screening method you should get.

Quick “antigenic” tests are recommended if:

- You show no symptoms

- You show symptoms for less than 4 days, you are under 65, and you are not subject to a risk factor likely to lead to severe coronavirus

- You are no contact case

- You have not been detected in a cluster

More reliable PCR tests are recommended if:

- You are over 65 years old and show symptoms

- You show symptoms and are part of people likely to be at risk and get severe coronavirus

- You are a contact case

- You are related to a cluster

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To face the second coronavirus epidemic wave, new means are available in order to make screenings easier. The arrival of antigenic screen tests could be a game-changer: these quick screenings – even though less reliable than PCR tests – enable to get results within 15 minutes. Here is everything you need to know about them.

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Practical information

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