Understanding the Different COVID-19 Tests: Which one is the Best?

COVID-19 testing narratives have been different across the country. Whereas one individual may obtain test results in minutes, another may have to wait for over a week to find out if they are infected. Some individuals prefer to fork hundreds of dollars at a testing location, while others can get free at-home testing kits from their local library. No matter the time or cost it takes to acquire findings, Covid-19 Otsego lab tests are helping a great deal in curbing the spread of this virus. Check out this post to learn more about the different test options.

What Are the Different Covid-19 Diagnostic Tests?

There are now two types of COVID-19 tests that are authorized for use in both unvaccinated and vaccinated patients to detect the existence of viral infection. These include:

1)      Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT)

A typical example is the PCR test. The sample is obtained from an individual’s saliva or a throat or nasal swab. The tests are quite precise. Unfortunately, findings could take up to a week to arrive.

In fact, these tests are so comprehensive that they could sometimes detect ‘genetic’ pieces of a waning or previous infection. As a result, it can indicate that the individual who had their sample tested and found positive may have reduced viral load; hence, be less infectious.

2)      Antigen Tests

Antigen tests, often known as quick tests, look for particular proteins on the virus’s surface. A throat or nasal swab is used to collect the sample. This sample collection could be done at the convenience of your home utilizing an FDA-approved at-home test, or ideally at one of the GatherWell testing locations across Minnesota. In some circumstances, the results could be obtained in minutes. 

Although positive findings are generally reliable, negative results might have to be validated by a PCR test. For this reason, antigen tests function well when the individual is tested during the initial stages of COVID-19 infection, whenever the viral load is greatest.

Though antigen tests are cheaper, quicker, and do not require the same degree of laboratory equipment as PCR tests, they are designed exclusively for those who have symptoms. Besides, they have a higher inclination to generate false-negative outcomes.

On the other hand, antigen tests are more precise in identifying positive outcomes. They are instrumental when screening big groups, like the staff of large corporations and school kids. This kind of screening must be undertaken regularly to promptly detect individuals with active COVID-19 infection and collect information on infection rates in a group.

Likewise, rapid tests could also be performed on individuals showing no symptoms of Covid-19 but have had recent exposure to the virus. In such cases, it is best to employ them repeatedly. For instance, conduct 2-3 tests at a two-day interval.

Antibody Testing

Also known as serology testing, this other Covid-19 test looks for previous immunization or infection signs. The test detects antibodies, spike antibodies from earlier vaccination or nucleocapsid antibodies from an earlier infection. These antibodies are the proteins that the body releases to fight diseases and can often confer immunity from contracting the same virus again.

Nonetheless, the available antibody tests do not currently check for existing Covid-19 infection. Thus, they cannot be utilized for diagnosis. What’s more, the value of antibody testing for determining vaccination status is unproven and is not presently advocated.

Wondering whether you have been infected with Covid-19 could be stressful for you and everyone around you. By recognizing and understanding the different tests and your alternative, hopefully, you can relieve some of your anxiety and make the best decision for yourself. At GatherWell, you can obtain a range of Covid-19 tests, including a PCR test, antigen, or antibody testing. To know your Covid-19 status, call the office or use the online booking tool to make an appointment today.

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