Three different types of COVID-19 Testing

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Richard G. Traylor

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Nov 13, 2021, 12:25:04 PM11/13/21
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For COVID-19 testing, there are a variety of technologies involved. There are two main methods available to determine if a person has an active infection. They are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen tests.

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 Because they search for genetic material These tests are the best choice for testing genetic material. These tests are performed in hospitals, testing centers or doctor's offices the like. The lab will look at the nasal-swab samples and report back within a few days.

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 Antigen tests are utilized to determine if a certain molecule is present in the body. However they don't confirm the presence of the infection. They can be performed in various settings, from a doctor's clinic to an office, a college, school and even at home.

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 The sample is obtained using one swab placed in the nose and the results are reported quickly, generally within 15 minutes.

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 But, antigen tests tend to be more susceptible to errors than PCR tests. The CDC affirms that tests using antigens are not as susceptible to PCR tests than PCR tests, so they could miss early infections that tests using a PCR test could find.


 In other words, if you undergo an antigen test within the beginning phases of an infection prior to the virus having replicated in large numbers, the result may be a false negative.

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 However, repeated use of antigen tests may compensate for the lower sensitiveness. In a research study published in September 2021 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases researchers found that when they tested for infection in college students and their employees every three days, rapid antigen tests were able to identify 98 % of the infections, similar to PCR tests.


 An antibody test is a third form of COVID-19 test. This blood test shows if you have had COVID-19 before. It doesn't tell you the severity of your illness. This doesn't mean you won't get COVID-19 if you've had it in the past.


 Brands of Rapid COVID-19 Tests for Home Use

 There are now four main COVID-19 antigen tests you can currently (or soon) buy without a prescription to perform at home.


 Abbott BinaxNOW is sold in two test packs at around $24. After swabbing both nostrils you then place the sample on a reactive strip in the form of a test strip, like in the video by Abbott. Like a pregnancy test, two lines appearing on the card show that the test is positive. the other line indicates that COVID-19 is not detectable. Antigen tests can provide false negative results if they're carried out too quickly following exposure. The directions recommend you repeat the test within three days.

 Quidel QuickVue is similar to the BinaxNOW but uses an actual tube instead of card to generate outcomes. The company also provides an instructional video. Results are available in 10 minutes. The test is also available as a a package of two for $24 with instructions for repeating the test in three days.

 Ellume requires that a sample be taken using a nasal sampler and transferred to the strip which is then filled with processing fluid. The strip is connected via Bluetooth using an app that users are required to download. Results are being displayed in the app within 15 minutes. Ellume costs about $40 and comes with a single test.


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