How is a Rapid Antigen Test Different from a PCR Test?

A rapid antigen test and a PCR test are both self-tests that use a swab stick to collect your sample from your nose and mouth.

By Dr. JODIE MOSS

A rapid antigen test and a PCR test are both self-tests that use a swab stick to collect your sample from your nose and mouth. Both these tests can be performed in the comfort of your home or accommodation with or without the supervision of a healthcare professional. A rapid antigen test is a fast and easy test that gives your test result within 15 minutes after you have tested. This testing method is recommended to be performed regularly every 3 to 4 days and also needed for international to some countries. Before returning back to the UK, you are required to use a rapid antigen test within 48 hours before you travel and also have a test certificate known as a fit to fly certificate to show that at the time of testing you had a negative test result and therefore, did not have the virus. A rapid antigen test does not require you to send them back to a laboratory for your test results. 

Order your Antigen test

Klarity are a government approved testing provider. Click below to find out about our rapid antigen tests.

PCR Tests is Required to be Sent Back to a Lab

“To get a travel test and a fit to fly certificate you are required to use a private testing provider, such as Klarity.”

A PCR test is also a swab test that you can perform yourself without needing to travel to visit a clinic or doctor. A PCR test has a greater accuracy rate than a rapid antigen test and has been shown that the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative testing values are considered the optimal testing method for detecting coronavirus. However, unlike the rapid antigen test, a PCR test is required to be sent back to a laboratory for analysis to determine a positive or negative result.  At Klarity we ship you with your test kit a prepaid postal box you. Once you have followed the testing instructions, uploaded the barcode of your swab stick and other general information in the Klarity App we ask you to post your sample back as soon as possible. We recommend posting your test kit in the nearest royal mail priority mailbox and recording the tracking number on your postal box – you can find this number under the barcode which ends in GB. You will be able to then track your test sample and see when it arrives at our laboratory, this can take up to 24 hours to reach our lab. Once your test sample reaches, we will send your test results and fit to fly certificate within 24 hours via email and also to your Klarity app.  

A rapid antigen test should be performed within 48 hours before you travel, and a PCR test should be performed within 72 hours. We highly recommend you should take your PCR test with the first 24 hours of that 72 hour period. 

Order your rapid antigen test

Klarity are a government approved testing provider. Click below to find out about our rapid antigen tests.

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