Antigen vs Antibody Test for Covid-19

In this article we shall get to know about Covid-19 tests and their differences, i.e  Antigen vs Antibody test for Covid-19. There are three types of tests for detecting Covid-19, RT-PCR, Antigen, and Antibody testing. To put it simply, PCR tests and Antigen tests detect if you are currently infected by the Virus, whereas Antibody tests detect if you have ever been infected by the virus in the past. 


Antigen Testing 

Antibody Testing 

What is the use of the test?

Antigens are substances injected into your blood to trigger your body to fight them. They look for the presence of proteins that make up the SARS Cov-2 virus and detect if the person has an active infection.

Antibodies are generated in our body during infection of various diseases and they persist in our body for a long time. This use of this test is to determine if there was a past infection.

How is the Test performed? 

A nasal or throat swab is taken by a trained nurse. The test is either sent to the lab for testing or the result will be obtained within a few minutes. 

In Antigen Testing blood samples are taken and sent to a lab for testing. 

What is the result of the test results?

Positive: A positive antigen test means that the person has is currently positive for covid-19 and has an active infection


Negative-  A negative test means that the virus was not detected. But it does not mean that the person is not infected entirely. If there is any concern or symptoms then the person should be tested again using the RT-PCR test. 

Positive- A positive result states that the person was infected in the past with Covid-19 and the immune system had created antibodies to fight it in the future. 


Negative- A negative antibody test means that the person may not have actually had Covid-19 in the past or it was not detected as the test was taken too soon and the person might be still infected. 

What are the advantages of this testing?

  • It is less expensive than a RT-PCR test
  • It can detect the presence of an infection quickly
  • It helps identify people who are contagious.
  • It identifies people who have been infected before and are now capable of fighting the virus.
  • It helps to determine who is qualified to donate convalescent plasma (a blood product that contains antibodies against COVID-19 and can be used as a treatment.
  • It helps public health workers determine the percentage of the population that has antibodies. 

What are the disadvantages of this testing?

  • There is a high chance of the test being false negative and it does not accurately rule out those who are infected.
  • It is better to get an RT-PCR test if you are not confident with the result and to be on the safer side.
  • Some antibody tests may cross-react with other coronaviruses that are not SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, this might lead to false results.
  • Even though Antibodies remain in our system for 6-8 months, medical specialists yet have not been able to figure out if it gives the kind of protection against the new variants. 

If you are looking for a Covid-19 test to be done, either Rapid Antigen or RT-PCR test, then Healthyaa is one the best health service providers in Leicester. To know more, visit Healthyaa



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