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Types Of Covid-19 Testing


There are three types of tests available for the Sars-Cov-2, also known as COVID-19, infection:

  1. Rapid antigen testing: nasal swab
  2. PCR testing: Nasal or nasopharyngeal Swab
  3. Antibody testing: Blood test

Rapid antigen testing:

This type of testing is a nasal swab that uses immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current active viral infection. Results take 15 minutes. There may be a chance of false negatives with rapid antigen testing, therefore, given your symptoms or exposure risk, you may need to get additional testing with PCR test.

PCR Testing:

This type of testing is used to detect active infections through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing methodology where a swab is obtained from the nasal passageway. This is the common test performed on individuals who show symptoms or have been exposed to someone with an active infection. It can take 2 to 3 days for PCR results to return. However, given the increased surge in Covid19 cases may cause further delay in results.

Antibody Testing:

This type of testing is used to detect past infection or exposure to the virus. This is a blood test that checks for different types of antibodies called immunoglobulin G (IgG), Immunoglobulin A (IGA), or Immunoglobulin M (IGM) that are formed by the body as a result of past or recent exposure to COVID19. The antibody test is not a test for an active infection. The human body produces antibodies as part of the immune response to the virus. It usually takes around 7 to 18 days to produce enough antibodies to be detected in the blood. This blood test can take 2 to 3 days to return.

Current studies show that most people develop antibodies against the Covid-19 virus after 15 days of exposure; therefore, it is recommended to wait for at least 15 days or more after your possible exposure or illness before checking for antibody levels.

At this time it is unclear whether a patient who has an antibody against Covid-19 is considered to be “immune” against future or re-infection; however, we believe that we have some level of immunity although it may be short-lived for around 90 days.

Pandya Medical Center offers all three types of testing at all of its locations. Please call the office to speak to a staff member to schedule an appointment 770-709-6922

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