The Washington PostThe Washington Post

PCR covid tests are not very useful. Focus on rapid antigen tests instead.

By Ezekiel Emanuel, David Michaels, Rick Bright, Luciana Borio

26 Jan 2022 · 3 min read

Everything about testing for covid-19 appears overly complicated. It is no wonder Americans are confused - and getting angry. So here's a way to simplify our testing game plan: Let's sideline polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in favor of rapid antigen tests.

For most of the pandemic, Americans have been told PCR testing is the gold standard. But in most situations, it is not. Ideally, coronavirus test results should guide actions related to isolation, travel, social interactions or even when to seek treatment options. PCR testing is less than useful to do any of these for two reasons.

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