AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Some people are seeking COVID-19 testing alternatives by heading to their pharmacies to buy a rapid antigen test.

Testing kits are simple and affordable. However, Dr. Ravindra Kolhe, a pathologist at the Medical College of Georgia, warns they are not extremely accurate.

“It’s definitely a good screening test,” Dr. Ravindra Kolhe explains. “If it’s negative, it doesn’t mean you’re truly negative. If you’re positive, there’s a chance it’s a false positive. The gold standard testing for COVID-19 is the PCR-based testing where we actually look at one or two genes of the virus and if that particular gene for the virus is present or not.”

Not only are PCR-based tests more accurate, patients can receive results within 24 hours.

“If you’re going to a gathering or coming back from a gathering, I would use a PCR-based test before exposing yourself to such a vulnerable situation. If you’re going meet your grandparents, a PCR-based test is probably the best thing to do.”