Cellum BioMedical is Helping to Open America Up
Temecula, California, January 6, 2021 –
Which COVID-19 test should I choose?
There are several different types of tests for COVID-19, and they can be useful for different people at different times. So how do they work, and which is the right test to choose:
RT-PCR Testing RT-PCR is the most common test for detecting COVID-19. The name RT-PCR comes from the biochemical reaction used to detect minute traces of the virus. The sample is taken using a swab inserted deep into the nose or throat, which are the best places to find the coronavirus. These collection methods are called nasopharyngeal (nose) or Oropharyngeal (throat) and are considered the most accurate collection methods. The swab sample goes to a lab for examination to detect the virus’s genetic material. The RT-PCR test has a broad window where it can detect an infection. A positive RT-PCR result indicates that a person is currently infected with coronavirus or has recently been infected. The results are almost 100% accurate in identifying a COVID case when the swab has been taken correctly. The test can detect the virus before symptoms appear, allowing someone to isolate earlier and reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Even when a person is no longer contagious, the RT-PCR test can detect traces of the virus several days later. Antigen Testing More recently, antigen testing has been developed for COVID-19. It is cheaper and quicker than PCR tests; however, antigen tests are less sensitive. The test detects proteins from the virus and has a narrower window for a positive result. Antigen tests are only sensitive during the period when the person is most infectious. The antigen tests use a swab in the nose or throat, the same as PCR tests. Lab technicians then treat the sample to release the viral proteins (or antigens). The test works similarly to a pregnancy test – the sample goes a paper strip, which indicates if the antigen is present. Antibody Testing While the first two tests are useful for finding out if you are currently infected, antibody testing can identify a previous infection. After fighting off a coronavirus infection, the antibodies continue to circulate in the blood. Antibodies are sent by the immune system to neutralize pathogens like the coronavirus. The test detects these antibodies from a small blood sample taken from a finger prick. An antibody test may give a negative result during the early stages of infection. False negatives can happen when the body has not had enough time to produce antibodies. For this reason, the antibody test is not suitable for identifying someone with active COVID-19 who could still be infectious. It is useful for public health agencies who develop statistics on how many people have had COVID-19. Availability of Coronavirus Testing The approval process from the FDA for new tests can take a long time. In response to the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country, the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations for new tests. These allowed unapproved medical products to be used in response to a serious threat when there are no available alternatives. There are currently 281 diagnostic tests that have received Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 from the FDA. Most of these authorizations are for RT-PCR tests. Quick turnaround time for RT-PCR and antigen tests is essential to ensure that infected people self-isolate as soon as possible. Without this, the chain of transmission can rapidly grow. Avoid Delays in Getting Test Results Public health experts say that test results should be received within two days to contain the virus. However, with high demand and shortages in supply and testing capacity, many people have had to wait over 10 days to receive a result. Travel to several countries, particularly in Europe, requires a negative result from an RT-PCR test taken within four days before entry. If you want to ensure that you are not waiting for days on end for results, CELLUM BioMedical offers coronavirus RT-PCR and antibody testing with results guaranteed in 24 hours.