Where to get tested and what kind of test to receive are two important questions that may not have obvious answers.
Covid has been an all too familiar part of our lives for close to a year now. While the rollout of vaccines offers a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, it will still be some time before life returns to the normal. With highly contagious new variants of the virus having been discovered in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, and with confirmed cases of these variants being found in many different countries around the globe, the importance of staying on top of testing is at an all time high.
Even though testing is more widely available now than at the beginning of the pandemic, it can still be difficult to navigate the necessary protocol in order to receive one, especially for someone who is not a native Italian speaker.
What kind of tests are available
Let’s start with the different types of tests as this is a key factor when figuring out where to get tested. There are currently three different kinds of Covid tests available in Rome, Molecular test “tampone molecolare”, Antigen test “test rapido”, and Antibody test “test sierologico.”
Molecular and antigen tests are the most common and are both nasal swabs. The antigen test however is a rapid test that produces results in 15-20 minutes, while the molecular test results take around a day and sometimes longer. Though antigen tests may be quick and convenient, they are less accurate than the molecular test. In fact, if an antigen test comes back positive the individual will be re-tested with a molecular test to confirm whether the results were accurate. It will cost 22 euros to receive an antigen test and 60 euros for a molecular test.
Antibody tests are conducted by drawing blood from either the finger or arm. They cannot diagnose active infections in people, but rather are used to evaluate if someone has been exposed to Covid in the past. While it is still unknown just how long the antibodies for Covid last we do know that they last for several months, even for individuals who were asymptomatic.
Where to get tested in Rome
Now that the various types of tests have been covered, it is important to know where to get them. Starting in November of 2020 pharmacies across Rome were given authorization to conduct covid testing. While not every pharmacy in the city offers them, you can often tell if one does by the presence of a small tent just outside the pharmacy such as the one on Viale Aventino near the city center.
Pharmacies that offer testing mostly use the rapid antigen test, and while you don’t need a prescription to receive one you will want to make an appointment with the pharmacy in advance. Many pharmacies in the city also offer antibody tests, and while not required, it’s a good idea to book an appointment in advance.
As mentioned before, molecular or PCR tests are the best at detecting active infection in individuals. In order to receive this kind of test however, you’ll need a prescription from a doctor. You can receive a prescription by going to the following link and following the steps: https://find.doctorsinitaly.com
What to do if you have covid related symptoms
If you are experiencing covid related symptoms this is the test you will want to receive. If you don’t have access to a car then you can request an at home visit from a doctor or nurse who can perform the test, minimizing the risk of exposure to others. You will also want to request a prescription if you had an antigen test come back positive, or if you have been in close contact with some who tests positive.
If you are planning on traveling abroad it is important to keep in mind that many countries and airlines require a negative test result in order to travel. Some airports will also require a negative test even if you are only stopping there for a layover. The Fiumicino airport has a drive through testing facility in the parking garage where you can receive a test before flying. Just show your flight itinerary to a someone at the airport and they will give you a prescription. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time before departure though when going through this process.
Results printed in English
Before traveling, be sure to check if the country you are traveling to requires covid test results to be printed in a certain language. If you are traveling to the US, UK, Australia, or New Zealand it is a good idea to have your test results printed in English. If you need test results printed in English you should contact the following organizations in Rome: Cesmet Travel Clinic, Medinaction, Campus Biomedical University Hospital, Tiziano Medical Centre, Datamedica.