What’s the difference between a PCR and an antigen (rapid flow) test?

PCR tests 

Polymerase Chain Reaction tests are used to directly screen for the presence of COVID-19 before antibodies form. This means they can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on. These tests MUST be sent to a lab for diagnosis and are one of the most accurate tests available. 

 

Antigen (rapid flow) tests 

Antigen (rapid flow) tests are used to directly screen for the presence of COVID-19, but are less accurate when detecting the disease early on, before symptoms occur. These tests are taken at home and provide results automatically within 15 to 30 minutes.