Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on a lot of things. The number of new cases seems to rise around the world and it has become imperative to take extra measures during the pandemic.

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In efforts to identify new cases and to keep safety measures, there are 2 tests designed to test the infections in humans. These two tests are known as Rapid Test and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Swab Test.

What are the differences between Rapid Test and PCR swab test?

Rapid Test

As the name suggests, Rapid Test gives the result of the test within seconds or minutes. However, Rapid Test only acts as a screening test and should not be used to determine the accuracy of one’s condition against the virus.

In the UAE, Screening Test (Raid Test) can be done at home or through drive-through-enabled facilities in the area.

Additionally, there is also a locally developed laser-based rapid test to diagnose COVID 19. It was devised by Abu Dhabi-based Quantlase Imaging Lab and has been used by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.

Typically, rapid tests are cheaper and generate the result faster than the PCR.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test

PCR test is the most known global test for the COVID19 diagnosis. The test has several steps and it can detect the presence of the virus very early on, therefore, it is now currently the most effective way of identifying COVID-19 cases.

PCR test works by collecting genetic information on the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) of the virus. In humans, DNA and RNA genetic information is unique. However, by identifying the virus’ RNA in the human body, the test can single out individuals with the RNA presence.

In the PCR test, the doctors will take samples of individuals’ phlegm, saliva, and substances from the nasopharynx. The samples will be collected by swabbing on it. Then, the samples will be taken to the laboratory for testing.

Currently, to help reduce the spreading of the virus, PCR test and/or rapid tests are required to enter certain regions.