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3 Types Of Coronavirus Tests

The Three Main Types Of Coronavirus Tests

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Following is a brief overview of the three main coronavirus tests:

PCR Tests

Polymerase chain reaction tests, known as PCR, is the most common and accurate test for determining whether someone is currently infected with the coronavirus.

Every virus has a unique genetic code and the PCR test works by starting with a throat swab from a patient, analyzing that specimen in a machine, and then looking for unique coronavirus genetic material.

Antibody Tests

Antibody tests, also known as serology tests, do not detect the virus itself. Instead, they detect whether someone has the antibodies in their immune system to fight off the novel coronavirus. People develop antibodies when their body fights off the virus.

Antibody tests are performed on a blood specimen. This can be from a finger prick or taken from a vein. The majority of antibody tests then require a trained expert to examine that blood specimen for antibodies specifically targeted to coronavirus.

Antigen Tests

Antigen tests are a quick and easy way to look for a specific antigen, a term for any foreign substance, like a virus or bacteria. Antigen tests for flu or strep throat, for example, can be done in a doctor’s office without expensive equipment and give results in minutes. There is not yet a reliable antigen test for the novel coronavirus, but it is theoretically possible and companies are working to make one.

Think of an at-home pregnancy test. In a coronavirus antigen test, you put a bodily sample such as a throat swab onto a specially treated strip, which then uses a color or marker to say whether the novel coronavirus is present.

The antigen test works by looking for a unique part of the coronavirus, such as a specific protein on one of its namesake “corona” spikes. If that specific protein is present in detectable quantities, then the test returns a positive result.

CoronaVirus/COVID-19 Recommendations:
Limit your exposure to coronavirus by staying away from large groups of people and anyone who has recently traveled. Watch for symptoms such as low grade fever (Below 100 degrees), headache, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Click HERE for Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data & Surveillance Dashboard.

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