The Coronavirus scare may have already lightened up but that doesn’t mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat. Variants are evolving and a rise in cases is already apparent in the past months. Just as the virus remains, COVID-19 tests also remain important.
It has already been emphasized that RT-PCR Covid Test is the gold standard for COVID-19. However, there are also other types of COVID-19 tests that also help in Coronavirus detection. Read on to know what these tests are and how they differ.
Why COVID-19 Tests are Important
COVID-19 tests are used to confirm Coronavirus infection. These tests help detect COVID-19 and aid in preventing the spread of the infection. Aside from identifying people who must undergo isolation guidelines, COVID-19 tests may also be used to detect the variant that caused the infection.
Reasons to Get Tested
- You are experiencing symptoms identified with COVID-19;
- You had close contact with a COVID-19 positive;
- You need to be screened to attend a gathering or as a requirement in school or workplace;
- You will travel or have traveled to another place.
3 Main Types of COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests
Molecular COVID-19 Test
This type of COVID-10 test helps in the diagnosis of current infection with the novel coronavirus. The molecular test may also be referred to as Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), or Reverse Transcription Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) Test.
Molecular tests are done using probes that detect the presence of the novel coronavirus. Some types of molecular tests are capable of multiple viral gene detection.
Mode of Collection
A sample is usually collected through a nasal or throat swab. Other types use saliva as a sample. For this type of molecular COVID-19 test, a sample is collected by spitting it into a tube.
A molecular test is the “gold standard” for COVID-19 diagnosis. A positive result on a molecular test usually doesn't need to be repeated to verify accuracy.
COVID-19 Antigen Test
This may also be referred to as a COVID-19 rapid test. In this type of COVID-19 test, an Antigen test kit is used to identify specific viral markers that determine the presence of infection. These markers are called antigens. If the novel Coronavirus antigen is detected, the antibodies used in testing will bind to them and produce a positive result. It works similarly to molecular testing but the turnaround time for Antigen testing is quicker (15 to 30 minutes).
Mode of Collection
When using antigen test kits, the specimen is collected using a specialized nasal swab. There are also antigen test kits now that collect saliva as a sample.
The method of collection is straightforward that’s why at-home antigen test kits have been made available. A 2020 study suggests that with the proper collection of their own sample, DIY antigen test kits can be as accurate as those performed by health professionals.
Antigen tests have a high accuracy rate. In the 2021 Cochrane review, antigen tests were found to correctly identify COVID-19 in 72% of people with COVID-19 symptoms and 58% of people without COVID-19 symptoms. It is also not recommended to take an antigen test too soon after exposure to avoid getting false negative results.
The antibody tests for COVID-19 may also be referred to as Serology Tests or Blood Tests. This type of testing searches for Coronavirus antibodies. It cannot diagnose active coronavirus infection. Positive results may indicate a past infection, but they may also indicate an immune response from vaccination.
Mode of Collection
Unlike antigen tests, antibody tests must be carried out by a health care professional. A specimen is obtained through a blood sample either through a finger prick or blood extraction from a vein in your arm. Antibody test results also require a few days to be processed.
To get accurate results, antibody testing must be done at least 14 days after the onset of symptoms. Doing the test too early may not yield an accurate result. Antibody testing may also be required to be done alongside viral testing.
COVID-19 detection helps prevent the spread of the disease. It also helps ensure that COVID-19-positive people will be given proper treatment. In addition to those, COVID tests may be done as a requirement for travel, admission, or routine checks. Fortunately, aside from RT-PCR tests, there are other easy-to-use and more affordable methods such as antigen testing that can be done without the help of a health care professional.
Are you looking for reliable antigen test kits? BestLab offers the Wondfo SARS CoV-2 Swab Antigen test kit that can detect antibodies as early as one week after infection. Inquire about this product now.