What is the difference between an antigen test and PCR or molecular tests? - QuickVue At-Home

What is the difference between an antigen test and PCR or molecular tests?

An antigen test, such as the QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test, detects proteins from the virus. Molecular tests detect genetic material from the virus. Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but not as sensitive as molecular tests. This means that a positive result is highly accurate, but a negative result does not rule out infection. If your test result is negative, you should discuss with your healthcare provider on whether an additional test is necessary and if you should continue isolating at home. There is a higher chance of false negative results with antigen tests than with laboratory-based molecular tests. This means that there is a higher chance this test will give you a negative result when you have COVID-19.

The QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test is intended for the qualitative detection of the nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2 from individuals with or without symptoms or other epidemiological reasons to suspect COVID-19. Serial testing should be performed in individuals with negative results at least twice over three days (with 48 hours between tests) for symptomatic individuals and three times over five days (with at least 48 hours between tests) for asymptomatic individuals. This test is authorized for nonprescription home use with self-collected (unobserved) direct anterior nasal (NS) swab specimens from individuals aged 14 years and older or with adult-collected anterior NS samples from individuals aged 2 years or older.

*In the USA, this product has not been FDA cleared or approved but has been authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization. This product has been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. The emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner.

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