COVID-19 Tests Explained
It is crucial to test for the coronavirus as soon as you develop symptoms. here are the different tests and what they do.
The RT-PCR test and the COVID-19 Antigen test are used to test for the active virus, whereas the COVID-19 Antibody test is used to know if you were previously infected.
Test This is the most accurate. It is used to directly detect the presence of the virus in the sample. The test detects the genetic material of the virus, known as RNA.
It involves a process that converts RNA to DNA.
The PCR testing then detects this DNA.
The sample is taken by A nasal or throat swab.
Results are given the same day or within 2-3 days.
The test helps detect an active coronavirus infection.
A negative test doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not infected, you might have taken the test too early.
If you develop symptoms after 3-4 days you have to retake the test.
It does not show if you ever had COVID-19 in the past.
COVID-19 Antigen Test
Antigen test, also known as rapid antigen test, is a rapid diagnostic test that gives fast results. This test helps identify the antigens related to the COVID-19 virus.
the sample is taken by a nasal or throat swab.
results are delivered in 1 hour or less.
Rapid tests are usually highly accurate if you test positive, then there is no need to conduct an RT-PCR test for confirmation. However, a negative result has to be confirmed using a molecular test as it has a higher chance of missing an active infection.
These tests help diagnose active coronavirus in the sample.
The Antigen test might miss an active coronavirus infection in comparison to RT-PCR tests.
COVID-19 Antibody Test
COVID-19 Antibody tests are tests for screening antibodies in your blood. It tells if you were previously infected with the virus.
It does not look for the active virus but checks whether your immune system has responded to the infection.
A blood sample is used for testing.
Results are delivered either the same day or in 1-3 days.
Sometimes a second COVID-19 antibody test might be needed for more accurate results.
A list of testing centres has been posted on our website.