Why COVID-19 testing should be a two-step process

Senior student Ryan Doss heats test tubes to keep them sterile during an in-person Phage Discovery Laboratory course
Photo credit Ethan Miller/Getty Images

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor 
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — COVID-19 screening sounds complicated, but it is not. What we want is a quick and inexpensive test to see if someone is positive. 

The FDA approved antigen tests (the ones for $5 that are done quick and easily), which have a higher rate of false positives. 

But that's OK. They screen the general public, and everybody who is positive doesn't go to work or go out to infect others. 

But it only works when those who are positive easily get a second test. 

Everyone who tests positive should then receive a confirmatory PCR test — a slower, more complex and more accurate type of molecular scan that looks for the genetic material of the new coronavirus. 

The most important thing is that this must be a two-step process.