Since the rampant spread of Covid-19, we’ve come to learn about an array of different testing options at doctors' offices and health care facilities. With a large number of options to choose from, how do you know which testing method is best suitable for you?
The United States leads the world in COVID-19 testing with the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Italy, and South Korea as the next countries with the highest amount of testing. According to data collected by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the United Kingdom are currently carrying out more tests than any other European country.
At this stage, there are 3 main ways of testing for COVID-19 around the world. There is the genetic molecular test - also known as a COVID-19 PCR test, an antigen rapid test, and an antibody test. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing is the most common way of testing for COVID-19 worldwide. This is not only the most common test taken by those who think they have contracted COVID-19, but employers may ask you to take a PCR test before returning to work. It is also very likely that you must take this test before traveling. Prior to your departure, you must research where to get a COVID-19 “fit to fly certificate near me”. PCR tests are highly sensitive, they involve collecting mucus from your nose or throat using a specialized swab that is able to tell you whether you have an active COVID-19 infection currently. Turnaround time is roughly 48 hours, as this process can be confusing, you should get support administering the test and understanding your results, explains Harley Medic International.
Antigen rapid testing is a diagnostic test with a fast turnaround. You receive your results in less than an hour which is much quicker than a PCR molecular test. The process is also similar to a molecular test as it involves a nasopharyngeal swab to the back of your nose and throat. Antigen testing detects the presence of viral proteins (antigens). The negative aspect of this testing method is that it is much less sensitive to a PCR test and has a higher probability of missing an active infection, thus a PCR test is more trusted. Rapid antigen tests are found in airports to screen large groups of people.
The third way of testing for COVID-19 is with an antibody test. While PCR and rapid antigen testing is used to diagnose an active infection, antibody tests are able to detect whether you have had the virus in the past. It does so by detecting antibodies in your immune system to the COVID-19 virus. Antibody tests must be done by a health professional such as Harley Medic International where they take a blood sample from a vein in your arm. All tests done at this clinic have a CE mark and are permitted by the regulatory body the MHRA, approved by the UK government. Antibody tests are not recommended until you’ve had symptoms for at least 14 days, otherwise, the test may not give accurate results. There is currently no strong evidence that suggests those who have had the virus develop long-lasting immunity that would prevent them from getting the virus again.