Viral tests: Molecular and antigen tests
Currently, there are two different types of tests that are related to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The first type of test is a viral test. These specific types of tests are utilized to diagnose current infection with SARS-CoV-2, the particular Coronavirus that causes COVID-19. There are two different types of viral tests that can help distinguish people with current infection and those without: Molecular (RT-PCR) tests and antigen tests.
RT-PCR, or molecular tests, detect the viruses genetic material, while antigen (rapid diagnostic) tests detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
Molecular tests are the most commonly used due to the test being highly accurate and given that re-testing is usually not needed. On the other hand, antigen tests carry the risk of a higher false negative rate.