More effective methods to detect whether we are infected with COVID-19 are being developed all the time. As a general rule, PCR tests and antigen tests stand out. But do you know what the differences are? In today’s post we tell you, so you can clear up all your queries.

PCR test

This test we’ve heard so much about from the beginning of the pandemic is a simple test that detects if we are infected by the COVID-19 virus.

It is done by taking a sample from the pharynx, using a slim cotton bud via the nasal passages and mouth. Unlike the antigen test, the results are known several hours after the sample is taken and it is the test with the greatest percentage of reliability and sensitivity.

The PCR test is one of the most requested tests when it comes to travelling as it is highly reliable in detecting if you are currently infected with COVID-19

Antigen test

On the other hand, antigen tests are highly useful when what is needed is to know which people are in the highest stage of infection, that is to say, when they may be most contagious.

The antigen test, as its name indicates, detects the presence of antigens, which is a protein located on the surface of the virus, and which is extracted in the same way as in PCR tests, via the nose. Once of the main differences is speed, as the results are available in 15-20 minutes after it is done.

Another of the big differences between the two tests is the sensitivity of the antigen test compared to the PCR test; it has a lower percentage sensitivity and, therefore, lower reliability.

When should we take each test?

Before travelling, it is important to know about the requirements at the place of destination, as it will be the local government, or even the city, that will ask for a PCR or antigen test.

Check the requirements for COVID-19 tests for your destination with your airline and the destination government at least one week in advance.

Where can I take the PCR or antigen test?

At the moment, there are various alternatives for taking your COVID-19 test, such as laboratories, the airport itself or even at home.

If your city of origin is Madrid, Málaga or Seville, you can take the PCR or antigen test in the airport itself, at the Travel COVID-19 Test centres. If you come from a different city, you can take the test at a private medical centre.

Another, more convenient alternative, which is available on the mainland, to get your fit to travel PCR test is the home PCR test. The company Alianza COVID-19 offers solutions for PCR tests and antibody tests, which avoid having to take the whole family to a clinic or laboratory.