Tests on COVID-19 – comparison

Tests on COVID-19 - comparison

Tests for COVID-19 can effectively monitor the rate of spread of a pandemic. Serological, genetic and antigen tests are currently available on the market – some detect ongoing, others detect past disease. They differ in price, the material they test and the time it takes to get the result.

Types of coronavirus tests

A coronavirus test can be performed by anyone who suspects they are infected or wants to check whether they have already contracted COVID-19. The types of coronavirus tests available on the market are divided into those that detect current infection with the virus – the presence of antigens or genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 – and those that confirm past disease based on antibody levels.

Active infection is detected by molecular tests: genetic RT-PCR (two genetic sequences of coronavirus) and PCR FRANKD and RT-LAMB (one genetic sequence of coronavirus), as well as rapid antigen tests (SARS-CoV-2 antigens). All of the aforementioned tests are classified as smear tests – they require taking a nasopharyngeal swab.

A history of the disease can be confirmed by performing a serologic test, showing the level of antibodies in the IgG, IgM class or IgG/igM panel. A blood sample is required to perform this test.

Read: Sars-Cov-2 Coronavirus: serological and smear tests

How the test for covid is carried out?

The test is carried out very quickly – it takes only a few minutes to collect the sample and all the necessary administrative steps. With blood tests, no preparation is required, nor is it necessary to be fasting. You must arrive for the swabbing on an empty stomach or at least 3 hours after your last meal, not brush your teeth or chew gum, not use mouthwash or lozenges beforehand, not smoke immediately before the test and not blow your nose.

Quick tests for coronavirus

How long does one wait for the result? Coronavirus rapid tests give a reliable result in as little as 15 minutes. They are antigenic tests, which means they confirm ongoing disease. Blood tests for coronavirus – serological – require about 3 working days to wait for the result. The average waiting time for information about infection from RT-PCR/RT-LAMB tests is 24 hours.

When can the test be performed? RT-PCR and RT-LAMB tests are done either after contact with an infected person or after the appearance of infectious symptoms. The same is true for antigen tests – it is recommended to be tested 5-7 days after the onset of symptoms of infection. Antibody tests confirm a history of COVID-19, so it is necessary to hold off until the level of antibodies can actually be determined in a blood sample for the longest time – 2 to 3 weeks after the first symptoms of coronavirus. IgG tests can also be performed to verify the level of immunity after vaccination.


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