Lateral flow tests vs PCR: Which is better for your business?

The two central testing systems available are Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which is machine-read, and the lateral flow test. Each one has its advantages and different methods, as well as varying levels of accuracy. How the swab is handled, and the time it takes for each test to be processed are also major factors between these two. So let's look at the lateral flow tests vs PCR and see which is better for your business.

The Lateral Flow Test

The Lateral Flow Test usually uses two lines to determine the presence or absence of a targeted analyte. The most known type of lateral flow test is a pregnancy test. The first line is usually the control line to determine if the test is working correctly. They are widely used in many industries, including pharmaceutical, environmental testing, animal health sectors and clinics.

They are easy to read, and the result can be obtained within minutes. But it is not very sensitive, and often it can miss low levels of positives or produce false positives.

Because of their easy use, they are ideal for quick screenings and can be used by relatively inexperienced staff.

And PCR Tests?

PCR Tests are known as the Gold Standard Test. They work by finding the DNA or RNA of a pathogen or abnormal cells in a sample. A small amount of genetic material in a sample is copied multiple times, allowing an expert to see any abnormalities. The test is sensitive enough to pick up low levels of the diseases, enabling them to detect infection early.

Due to the complicated machine processing, the swab must be handled by professionals. It can also take up to a few hours before results are available.

Lateral flow tests vs PCR?

If you are looking to do quick screenings in bulk, where you want your results in a matter of minutes, then lateral flow tests might be for you. But if you are looking for specific results with high accuracy, then PCR would be a better choice.

Both are Available Depending on Your Needs

Dr. Adams Laboratories stock both lateral flow and PCR testing options for clients and has the PCR laboratory equipment available. Contact us directly to find out more information, bulk options and any other consumables you might need for a testing facility within your lab or pharmacy.


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