The classic Covid-19 test consists of a PCR test that detects genetic material of the virus. This is the most reliable test but you must wait for the result until the test has been analysed by an accredited laboratory. If all other conditions are met as well, this is the only test that comes with a recovery certificate. With this test patients may also receive a test certificate.
Rapid Covid-19 antigen tests measure the presence of certain proteins and don’t require analysis in a lab. They can be administered and read out instantly by medically trained personnel so that the result is available quickly (generally after 15 minutes). As of 1 July 2021 patients who take this test may also receive a test certificate. Please note that not all countries accept antigen tests.
With antibody testing or serological rapid testing, the patients’ blood is screened for the presence of antibodies against Covid-19, telling them whether they have been infected in the past. These tests do not entitle the patient to a certificate.
Classic rapid antigen tests may only be administered by medically trained personnel. There are also simpler antigen tests that can easily be administered by patients themselves and that are also known as self-tests. These tests do not entitle the patient to a certificate.