This can be confusing.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Antigen tests. Genomic tests. Antibody tests. At-home tests. It can all seem overwhelming to patients already stressed by the many hard decisions entailed by living through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

There are two main types of tests: viral tests and antibody tests. A viral test tells you if you have a current infection and it includes PCR and antigen tests. An antibody or serology test might tell you if you had a past infection and should not be used to diagnose a current infection.

Widespread testing with quick turnaround times is needed—along with vaccination, wearing a mask, physically distancing and washing hands—to effectively control the COVID-19 pandemic. But with several different types of COVID-19 tests on the market today, it has left many wondering when they should get tested and which test is most appropriate. One pathologist helps clear up some of the confusion around COVID-19 testing. (more…)