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LFD and PCR tests explained!

What is the difference between an LFD test and a PCR test? 

There are two types of COVID-19 tests:


LFD Test
(Lateral Flow Device)

PCR Test
(Polymerase Chain Reaction)



PCR Tests

The Polymerase Chain Reaction (also known as PCR) should be taken if you are showing symptoms of Covid - 19, even if you are undertaking twice weekly LFD testing (See below).  The results of a PCR test will be interpreted by a trained and qualified healthcare professional. PCR tests give you a fairly accurate indication of whether or not you are infected with coronavirus.  You can book to have a PCR test here.


LFD Tests

Approximately 1 in 3 individuals are asymptomatic when they contract COVID-19 and it is believed that the use of regular LFD tests will help to identify those who may be positive for COVID-19 and are still infectious yet are asymptomatic.  Currently, school staff and those who live in the same household as someone who works in, or attends, a school setting can undertake twice weekly LFD testing - you can order your kits here.  Because of the way the LFD tests work to identify Covid -19 based on your 'viral load,' these must not be used in replacement of a PCR test if you develop symptoms of Covid -19.  In this instance, you must book to have a PCR test.  LFD tests are not as accurate as PCR tests and may miss cases of Covid - 19.