When the deadly respiratory disease or COVID-19 outbreak began, health officials heightened the need for coronavirus testing. It is because immediate testing can quickly identifyactive cases for people, resulting in early treatment for infected individualsand isolation to prevent further spread.
Aside from the safety measures and stringent travel protocols, testing remains critical, especially since the pandemic is yet to end.It is an integral part of the overall health picture on mitigation efforts, helping health officials and scientists understand and know more about its prevalence, spread, and contagiousness.
Countries that failed to implement stringent testing protocols have resulted in a rapid rise in hospitalizations that overwhelmed public health systems and put an immense burden on health care workers and other front liners. Moreover, places lacking vital testing equipment that can provide timely and accurate results cannot prevent more critically ill patients.
Two years into the pandemic, people are undoubtedly aware of the various tests that can tell whether an individual has an active coronavirus infection.There are three types of tests available for COVID-19,and the two most common are the Polymerase chain reaction or PCR and rapid antigen test.
The PCR test is a molecular test that looks for the viral DNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.A healthcare professional will swab the back of an individual’s throat and nose to get a sample. A saliva sample can also betaken and tested in a laboratory. Initially, only health care professionals are allowed to take the sample, but today, various at-home COVID-19 testing kits are available for everyone. The turnaround time for this test takes 24 hours or, often, less than a day.
On the other hand, the antigen test looks for proteins specific to the virus to determine if a person has an active infection. The sample is taken similar to PCR tests conducted in hospitals, clinics, and even at home. While the turnaround time for this test takes 30 minutes or less, it is less accurate thanthe PCR test.
The less common test used for COVID-19 is the serology test, also known as the antibody test. This test looks for antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the blood. Antibodies refer to proteins made by the body’s immune system to combat infections, including those caused by viruses. Some antibodies can help fight off such infections.
The primary difference between PCR and rapid antigen tests is that they can tell if a person has a past coronavirus infection instead of present or active. A serology test is neither helpful nor used when diagnosing current COVID-19 as an antibody test does not detect SARS-CoV-2. Only diagnostic tests such as PCR and antigen can dothat.
An antibody test is helpful for the NHS and scientists to learn more about the virus and its spread. It can also help understand immunity against the virus and how effective vaccines are in preventing transmissions. People who want to take the test can talk to a doctor to know if taking one is appropriate for them.
But now everyone is qualified to take this test. People living in the UK might be eligible to register for an antibody coronavirus test if they wish to be a part of the following:
Accordingly, those who take a PCR test can be given an option to participate in serology testing. Taking one will help detect antibodies after vaccination or infection.
If you are looking for a trusted COVID-19 testing provider, Harley Medic International offers affordable government-approved PCR and rapid antigen tests. You can visit their websiteto learn more.