Understanding the 3 Major Types of COVID-19 Exams


As the government continues to ramp up its vaccination efforts, coronavirus testing remains a critical piece of the puzzle in fighting the pandemic. This is especially true with newer strains of the virus, such as the Delta variant, that continue to emerge. Over the last 18 months, more Americans are getting to learn of the confusing array of COVID-19 testing options available in hospitals and community health centers.  Find out when the best time to test for Covid-19 after symptoms start. 

What Are the Different Types of COVID-19 Tests in Daytona?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are two basic types of COVID-19 testing, tests for present infections and tests for past infections. Viral or diagnostic testing will inform you if you currently have the virus. The two major types of viral COVID-19 exams are the nucleic acid amplification tests (PCR) and the antigenic rapid COVID test. Antibody tests indicate if you had a past infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Here is a more detailed look into the different types of COVID-19 exams.

1. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests

The polymerase chain reaction tests are the most widely accepted testing procedures across the globe. The viral testing looks for nucleic acids, specifically the RNA of the COVID-19 virus. Every virus has a unique genetic code. PCR coronavirus testing involves picking the sample collected and amplifying the specimen to search for RNAs specific to the COVID-19 virus. Changes or mutations in these genetic codes result in new strains of the virus.

Typically, these molecular tests use a sample collected from a nasopharyngeal (deep inside the nose) or oropharyngeal (throat) swab and sent to a lab. The lab technicians then extract the genetic material and amplify it. A computerized machine then checks for the Coronavirus RNA. New knowledge about the virus has made it possible to have quicker exams with rapid nasal and PCR nasal tests available. It is arguably the most accurate form of testing, with most governments recommending it.

2. Rapid Antigen Tests

The antigen test is by far the most popular testing measure across the United States. These rapid COVID-19 exams test for the presence of an antigen (protein). It has a quicker turnaround time than the PCR. You may receive your results in less than 30 minutes. It is also cheaper to carry out, allowing medical facilities to screen a large number of people at a time.

It functions similarly to a pregnancy test kit. Generally, the nasopharyngeal swab, which is the specimen, is placed on a specially treated strip. A market then indicates whether the candidate undertaking the test has coronavirus or not. While it is quick, the procedure is less effective than the PCR tests. If you continue to experience COVID-19 symptoms even after obtaining a negative result, consult a physician immediately.

3. Antibody Tests

Antibody tests do not check if you have the virus itself. These COVID-19 exams look for antibodies produced to fight against the virus. When battling an infection, your body fights back by producing antibodies that can identify and target the pathogen, in this case, coronavirus. A positive result may indicate that you may have come into contact with the virus at one time. These types of tests may not be used for diagnosis but can indicate how widespread COVID-19 is within a community.

Rapid COVID Testing Deltona

You may need to stay informed about your health, and learning about COVID-19 testing is one of the proactive measures. To schedule rapid COVID-19 exams (Rapid Nasal and PCR Nasal Test) for your family in Deltona, Fl, reach out to Harmony Clinic.



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