Antigen or molecular: what test should I take if I suspect that I have COVID-19

The queues to get a molecular test or antigens to see if you have COVID-19 they are very long both in public entities and in clinics. The wait lasts hours, but you really know what kind of test you should take to know if you are infected or not.

The increase in cases due to the presence of the omicron variant and the possibility of being infected, especially when it comes to receiving the third dose, have caused people to get up early at the doors of the Minsa and Essalud health centers. Do you know what test you should take and who has priority?

WHAT COVID RULING TEST SHOULD I TAKE?

antigen

If you have symptoms such as cough, fever or general malaise, then it is recommended to use the antigen test. This test detects one of the virus proteins.

Molecular

If you do not have symptoms, but have been in contact with a person who does have COVID-19, you should opt for the molecular test. The molecular test is the one that detects the genetic material of the virus

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Note: The positive result of any should be accepted as evidence that a person has the infection.

WHO SHOULD GET PRIORITY FOR THE COVID-19 RULING OUT TEST?

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) indicated, through a statement, that the use of tests must be rational because the capacity of laboratories has been exceeded throughout the world. For this reason, he recommended prioritizing those with a higher risk of severe disease, such as people over 60 years of age or with comorbidity, such as hypertension, diabetes or others. It is also important to rule out people who do face-to-face work and do remote work that require medical leave to fully recover from the infection.

Given the increase in cases due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, thousands of people have gone to the different free disposal points for COVID-19 (Photo: Leandro Britto / @photo.gec).
Given the increase in cases due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, thousands of people have gone to the different free disposal points for COVID-19 (Photo: Leandro Britto / @photo.gec).

HOW MANY VARIANTS OF THE SARS-COV-2 VIRUS ARE THERE CURRENTLY?

Quite a few, but not all are considered “Variant of Concern” (VOC) by the World Health Organization (WHO). In this special list we have:

  • Alpha (B.1.1.7): The first documented samples were registered in the United Kingdom, in September 2020. It is present in 179 countries.
  • Beta (B.1.351): The first documented samples were recorded in South Africa, in May 2020. It is present in 119 countries.
  • Gamma (P.1): The first documented samples were recorded in South Africa, in Brazil in November 2020. It is present in 93 countries.
  • Delta (B.1.617.2) The first documented samples were recorded in India, in October 2020. It is present in 188 countries.
  • Ómicron (B.1.1.529): The first documented samples were registered in South Africa and other nations, in November 2020. It is present in 105 countries.