Are Rapid Antigen tests less accurate than PCR tests?

While Antigen tests are fast and easy to collect, antigen tests typically have a much lower sensitivity than PCR tests and are not as accurate as PCR tests.

Molecular tests (also known as PCR tests) detect genetic material from the virus. Antigen tests detect proteins from the virus. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular tests. 

This means that a positive result tends to be accurate, but a negative result does not rule out infection. 

If your test result is negative, you should discuss with your healthcare provider whether an additional molecular test would help with your care, and when you should discontinue home isolation.

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