CAN YOU EXPLAIN AT-HOME VERSUS PCR TESTS?

Q – 3.3.22 – Unfortunately, I was going to Rutgers and studying Medieval European History when I should have been studying scientific testing. Now in our late 60s, we are contemplating resuming worldwide travel to places like New Zealand, Antarctica,  and Peru. We understand that each country has its own requirements and we have lots of time for them to change. I really have two questions given your excellent advice on this site: Which trip would you recommend first, given our age and our “normal aches and pains” medical conditions? Also, for us and your other readers, can you please explain what we need to know about a PCR Test etc. in simple language? Thanks so much.

A – We strongly recommend Antarctica first. Two reasons: First we have not yet been able to figure out how to environmentally destroy the continent completely. Although we are going to manage that apparently.

Secondly, getting in and out of inflated rafts is, for some, I bit taxing physically. 

So there are several Covid tests discussed in the media. You can use one of the do-it-yourself home tests which involve nothing more than swapping your note and then sliding it onto a test strip. You usually get two tests in a kit for about $25.00. The results are sent to you within three or four days. This is called an Antigen Test, meaning they are tests that can identify the virus proteins.

The PCR Test is done in a lab or clinic and is, therefore, considered to be more reliable than an antigen test. It is a technique that identifies trace amounts of the virus DNA. If you don’t have insurance, the typical PCR Test costs in the range of $150. By the way, PCR stands for ‘polymerase chain reaction” in case you are attending a Rutgers class reunion and want to show off a bit.