Everything You Need To Know About Covid Tests
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke, people have started taking their health more seriously. In fact, they no longer take it for granted and go out of their way to ensure that they are healthy. However, if there is one thing that has been learned in 2020 when Covid-19 broke out, it is the fact that testing is necessary for keeping track of the disease and ensuring that it is contained.
When it comes to testing, a number of options are available such as tests conducted at a doctor’s office and ones that are performed from the comfort of your home. Some tests rely on blood or saliva, whereas, others use mucus samples to provide information about whether you have been infected or not. As there are various options out there, it is important that you are able to decide which option to go with. Chances are that you are wondering if the tests provide the same information and if they work in the same bay.
As of June 2022, there are two different types of Covid tests that are available. These include blood tests for determining past infection by checking the presence of evidence and diagnostic tests which check whether you have active Covid infection in your saliva or mucus. Thus, it becomes possible to find out whether your immune system has been infected or not.
Now, it is possible for your doctor to suggest a diagnostic test for confirming whether you have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 which is responsible for causing Covid-19. What you need to understand is that there these tests have their fair share of differences that you need to know about. The truth is that there are various ways to detect the virus. Antigen tests look for a coating of the virus, while others detect nucleic acid which belongs to Covid.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that tests which identify the RNA sequences are called NAATs (Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests). The thing about diagnostic viral tests is that they can either be laboratory tests or rapid tests. With rapid tests, it is possible to find results within a matter of minutes. These tests can also include antigen tests. The tests that are conducted at a laboratory are called RNA tests and are known for using various methods for detecting the virus.
PCR Covid Tests
One of the methods that is used involves a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test which detects the genetic material of the virus as explained by the FDA (Food and Drug Authority). Since laboratory tests tend to be highly sensitive, they take a few days to provide results. It is important that you keep in mind that RNA tests can remain positive for as long as 3 months even if someone no longer experiences any symptoms.
Antigen Covid Tests
As for antigen tests, they are rapid tests that are rather cheap and quick. However, they are not as accurate as RNA tests. What this means is that antigen testing can provide false-negative results and can even fail to detect active infection. Moreover, neither RNA testing nor antigen testing can predict if someone has recovered and is not contagious. The CDC advises people to rely on symptoms when determining whether someone can end their quarantine or not as the virus can affect you even after you have recovered. However, there is no denying that Covid tests play a huge role in combatting the virus. Learning more about the different test types and their purpose is necessary for making informed decisions.
Covid Test Types
As you might have gotten an idea by now, there are two types of Covid tests which include antibody tests and diagnostic tests.
Also known as serology tests, antibody tests are used for detecting antibodies that your immune system might have produced due to SARS-CoV-2 which is responsible for causing Covid-19. It is important that you understand that antibody tests must not be used for diagnosing Covid-19 or a current SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition to this, it should also not be used for checking your immunity.
There is a need for more research to find out whether the antibody tests are able to tell you more about your immunity. The doctor or any other medical expert would take blood from your vein or finger stick to perform the antibody test.
Diagnostic tests are conducted to find out if someone is infected by SARS-CoV-2 at present. There are 2 different types of Covid diagnostic tests which include antigen tests (also called rapid tests) and molecular tests (also known as polymerase chain reaction tests). A nasal (anterior nares) swab sample is collected for conducting the Covid diagnostic test. Some of the tests even use saliva, oropharyngeal, nasopharyngeal, and mid-turbinate samples. It is possible to perform the Covid diagnostic tests at home, at a health clinic, at the doctor’s office, at a testing site, or even at the laboratory.
For certain Covid diagnostic tests, you would need to head to a testing site for ensuring that your sample has been collected. However, it is possible for someone to arrive at your home in order to collect your sample with the help of a home kit. Otherwise, you can even collect your own sample and have it sent to the laboratory to get tested. Some of the tests allow you to obtain results immediately while at home. These tests do not require you to send any sample to the laboratory. Hence, they are considered more convenient.
In case you require a Covid diagnostic test, it is important that you check the community testing sites within your state to ensure that you are able to find one near your home. It is also possible to give an FDA-authorized Covid diagnostic test a try at home for greater convenience. It shows that self-testing is very much possible. You must bear in mind that the tests are only suggested to certain users. For instance, the tests may be suggested to those who experience or do not experience symptoms. Generally, laboratory tests like PCR tests tend to be more accurate. New tests will be available with time.
Types of Covid Samples:
There are different types of tests that are authorized for different samples. These are mentioned below.
A swab that has a long tip is used for collecting the sample from your throat or nose. The sample types taken include the following.
- Oropharyngeal: It obtains a sample from your throat beyond the mouth and has to be obtained by an experienced health care professional.
- Nasopharyngeal: A sample is taken from inside your nose. It reaches your throat and must also be taken by an expert.
- Mid-Turbinate: It involves taking a sample from inside your nose.
- Anterior Nares (Nasal): A sample would be taken from inside your nostrils.
Obtaining saliva samples is a whole lot easier as all you need to do is spit in a tube instead of having to opt for a throat or nasal swab.
In order to test the antibodies, blood samples are needed. Blood samples cannot be used for diagnosing Covid-19. Your blood sample is likely to be collected at a clinic. There are some antibody tests that use finger sticks for obtaining your blood.
Patients and health care experts are encouraged to report any side effects or adverse effects according to the FDA. They also need to speak up in case of performance issues relating to Covid tests or any other medical product. In order to report the adverse effects, you have to submit your online report on the Med Watch website. You can either contact the official number of the FDA to get a form sent to your email address or download it directly from the website. Then, you have to complete it and have it sent through courier or fax.
Get the Right Covid Test
In order to determine the right Covid test, you need to determine your goal such as whether you want to confirm if you are currently infected or to determine if you have had Covid-19 in the past. You can even get tested to identify whether you are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. If you or your loved one has been infected, it is important that isolation guidelines are followed. It is the only way that the situation can be contained.
How accurate are Covid Tests?
A multi-site prospective U.S. research assessed SCoV-2 Ag DetectTM Rapid Test's clinical performance. In the prospective trial, individuals with COVID-19-like symptoms were included within 5 days of symptom start. The prospective trial included three locations with six drive-through collecting points.
At point-of-care settings, eligible patients had paired nose swabs taken. One nasal swab was promptly tested with SCoV-2 Ag DetectTM Rapid Test (i.e. without placing in viral transport media). The second nasal swab was examined using EUA-approved RT-PCR. Randomly assign nasal swabs to SCoV-2 Ag DetectTM Rapid Test and comparator test. Minimally trained operators conducted successive SCoV-2 Ag DetectTM Rapid Tests. Operators operated the QRI without any training.
PPA and NPA from 53 patients at Site 1, 177 patients at Site 2, and 73 patients at Site 3 were examined. One specimen failed the RT-PCR comparator test, hence this patient isn't included in the study. NPA was 100.0% (95 percent CI: 98.53% - 100.00%) and PPA was 86.67% (95 percent CI: 73.823% - 93.743%) for nasal swab samples from 302 symptomatic individuals within 5 days of symptom onset (PSO).
After you have finished reading the post, you will know everything there is to know about Covid tests. Your medical expert should be able to decide which type of test to perform. Now, you must not take a diagnosis lightly, and make sure to keep your outside hours limited if you have been found to be infected. However, there is no need to stress as your medical professional should be able to guide you every step of the way. No matter what question you might have on your mind, you can reach out to them for the answers that you are looking for.