DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VARIOUS TESTS FOR COVID-19
RT-PCR Test: detects the presence of viral RNA. It is very accurate and efficient. This test is able to detect a COVID-19 infection even before the person becomes infectious and will allow early isolation. Thus, this method is able to prevent the transmission of the virus to other hosts. The disadvantages are the financial cost compared to the antigen tests, the longer evaluation time, and the need for highly professional staff for sample handling.
Rapid Antigen Test: detects viral proteins. The rapid antigen test reveals patients at the peak of the infection when the body has the highest concentration of these proteins. The disadvantage is that they are not as sensitive (accurate) as the standard RT-PCR tests used to accurately identify those infected.
Antibody Test: this test measures antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the bodies of people who have already had COVID-19 or are successfully recovering from the disease. Antibodies are not present at the onset of the disease.
Saliva Test: these tests can be Rapid Antigen Tests or PCR Molecular tests. They are considered non-invasive since the method used is saliva collection. The PCR saliva test is considered valid to release the Green Pass, while the Rapid Antigen test is not. These types of tests are usually used for screening purposes.
WHERE TO GET TESTED
Please note that the Tuscan Region has recently declared that an antigenic swab is sufficient to confirm a positive case, and there is no more need to do a molecular test. However, in order to be considered valid to end the quarantine and be able to come back to school, the swab needs to be registered in the Regional System and therefore done in one of the following places (home swabs are not considered valid to end the quarantine period):
- Local Health Authority (ASL) through a doctor prescription and booking on this website providing the Codice Fiscale (Italian Tax Code) and Tessera Sanitaria (Italian Health Card) number;
- Private Labs
- Helab, in Piazza della Libertà
- Istituto Fanfani, in piazza della Indipendenza
- Synlab, various locations around Florence
- Biomolecular Diagnostic, located on the western side of Florence (via Nicola Porpora 5)
- Gentras in Via degli Abatoni 11/6, Prato (open on Saturday and Sunday between 9am-1pm). Please book an appointment by calling 0574 740027 and tell them you are from ISF.
- COR Firenze, in via Giano della Bella in the Oltrarno
- Family doctor;
Prices of swabs are now determined by the Italian government.
Antigenic swab is €8 for 12-18 year-olds and €15 for all other ages
Molecular swab is maximum €80
Please note that not all labs and pharmacies are required to apply the above prices, so you might find swabs at a higher cost at other locations.