Skip to main content

Comparison of different types of tests

Rapid Antigen test (RAT)

Detects viral proteins. The rapid antigen test reveals the infected at the peak of the infection when the body has the highest concentration of these proteins.

The disadvantage is that these tests are not as sensitive (accurate) as the standard RT-PCR tests used to accurately identify those infected. When using them, a significant percentage of those infected pass the test as a false negative. In a few days, these people will spread the virus among others, thinking they are healthy.

Their advantage is the price, the result within 30 minutes and lower demands on the expertise of the staff.

If you are being tested with the Rapid Antigen test, you are NOT guaranteed to be uninfected at the time of taking the test. 

It is advisable to repeat the test every 3 to 5 days.

Antigen tests can also be performed in the laboratory - ie in the laboratory from a sample performed at a sampling point or at the doctor's office. The results are available within a few hours up to the next day.

RAT tests can be performed as follows:

  • Performed by a health care professional

This means that the collection and evaluation of the test was performed by a healthcare professional, as stated in the test documentation. The output of this test is a certificate that is valid for 72 hours from the date of collection. It is sometimes also referred to as POC = "point of care" (sometimes also POCT - "point of care testing").

  • Online 

Collection and evaluation of the test is performed by the person himself under the online supervision of a healthcare professional (consultation). The test was therefore performed by the person himself and is therefore a self-test. It is not recorded in the system.

From 1 September 2021, a self-test performed under the online supervision of medical staff is recognized when entering service establishments. Its validity is 24 hours from the confirmation of the given medical facility according to the opinion of the Ministry of Health.

  • Self-test - tests with the recognized exception of the Ministry of Health or intended for self-testing - specified in the test documentation.

Collection and evaluation of the test is performed by the person himself without professional supervision directly before entering the place where he needs to prove compliance with O-N-T. The test is valid once for one entry per event. If you want to go to the hairdresser and then for lunch, you must take one test before entering the hairdresser and the other before entering the restaurant.

Antigen testing is not primarily intended for people in quarantine or for people with symptoms of covid-19. People with symptoms of the disease must contact their general practitioner, who will issue a request for a PCR test or other necessary examination.

RT-PCR test

Detects the presence of viral RNA. It is very accurate and efficient. This test is able to detect a COVID-19 infection even before the person becomes infectious and will allow early isolation. Thus, this method is able to prevent the transmission of the virus to other hosts.

The disadvantages are the financial cost compared to the antigen tests, longer evaluation time, and the need for highly professional staff for sample handling.

Collection is performed by a healthcare professional. The test is performed and the result is evaluated in a specialized laboratory after careful testing. The output is a certificate that is valid for 7 days from the date of collection.

Discriminant PCR test

The discriminant PCR test is a test performed in the laboratory on positive samples and allows to determine whether in a given case it is a specific mutation for which the given discriminant test is designed.

Antibody test

This test measures the presence and, in some cases, the level of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the blood of persons who have already had Covid-19 and are successfully recovering from the disease or are vaccinated. Antibodies are not present at the beginning of the disease, they begin to form gradually about 2 weeks after the virus enters the body (infection), or after vaccination.

It is an indirect evidence of infection, so it is not possible to make a diagnosis based on the detection of antibodies, only to state that a person is very likely to have had the disease at some time or is vaccinated.

Related links and sources