What ’ s the Point of PCR Tests Anymore?
If you had COVID-19 symptoms in 2020, you probably would have masked up and braved a visit to a laboratory, doctor’s office, or clinic to get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. A health care worker would have shoved a swab up your nose, and then you would have waited a day or two, if not more, to get your results. Now, you’d likely use an at-home test, which spits out results in just 15 minutes. It’s easier, faster, and reliable, even against the latest variants. Though they’re not perfect, at-home tests will detect infections about 80% of the time, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] So is there any reason to get a PCR test anymore? Judging by the steep drop-off in PCR testing rates, many people seem to have decided there is not. Roughly a year ago, more than 15 million laboratory test results were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each week. Now, that number has dropped to about 2 million per week—and it’s not just because there’s less virus circulating. Studies show that use of at-home tests has steadily increased over time, suggesting that many people are opting to test themselves instead of getting PCR tests. If you’re feeling fine and simply doing your due diligence before traveling, socializing, or going to an appointment, an at-home test is a great option, says Dr. Charles Chiu, a professor of laboratory medicine at the Univer...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Jamie Ducharme Tags: Uncategorized COVID-19 healthscienceclimate Source Type: news
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