Your Guide to Getting a COVID-19 Test


News Picture: Your Guide to Getting a COVID-19 Test

THURSDAY, Oct. 29, 2020 (Well being & Wellness)

Which sort of COVID-19 check is greatest?

There are three forms of COVID-19 checks. The molecular check, referred to as the PCR — brief for polymerase chain response – is taken into account probably the most correct, notably when taken deep within the nasal cavity.

“The sensitivity of the test is much better when you get that deeper specimen,” mentioned Dr. Catharine Paules, an infectious illnesses doctor at Penn State Well being Milton S. Hershey Medical Middle. “Even though it’s uncomfortable, that’s the best way to get the test done.”

One other check is antigen testing, which detects viral proteins in a pattern, typically obtained from a swab of the decrease portion of the nostril or deeper, nasopharyngeal swab.

“These are more likely to be point-of-care tests performed on plastic card-based assays, similar to a pregnancy test where a line will show up if it’s positive for the virus,” mentioned Dr. Melissa George, interim chair of the Division of Pathology on the Milton S. Hershey Medical Middle.

“But right now, only a few antigen tests have received FDA emergency use authorization, and they’re only available in small volumes,” George mentioned in a hospital information launch.

The third check appears for antibodies after somebody has had COVID-19.

If somebody is anxious that they could have COVID-19, one of the best check is the nasal swab with the molecular testing, Paules mentioned. “That will show if you’re actively infected with the virus,” she mentioned within the launch.

Level-of-care checks that may be processed in 15 to 30 minutes could also be accessible at some docs’ workplaces. However due to its decrease sensitivity and better false-negative charges, it is higher to have checks which can be processed in a laboratory.

Antibody check use is restricted.

“We’re mostly using them to help us define clinical syndromes that might occur after COVID-19,” Paules mentioned. “For example, multisystem inflammatory syndrome. It’s a serious inflammatory complication of COVID in children. One of the ways that we’ve been able to discover that and diagnose patients with it is through an antibody test.”

So far as whether or not a constructive antibody check needs to be thought of a clear invoice of well being, Paules suggested in opposition to that.

“There’s a lot we still need to learn about the virus,” Paules mentioned. “We need to learn if infection protects against reinfection down the road. And if it does, are antibodies the way that we measure that protection? Even if I went and had a positive antibody test today, that would not inspire me to change any of my behaviors. I would still wear a mask. I would still social distance.”

Whereas ready for check outcomes, it is important to proceed to isolate.

“If you had some cold-like symptoms — you’re coughing, you have a fever — and you got a test, your next step should be to go home and keep to yourself until that test result comes back negative,” Paules mentioned. “You don’t want to infect anyone else while you’re waiting for those results.”

Extra data

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has extra on the brand new coronavirus.

— Steven Reinberg

SOURCE: Penn State Well being, information launch, Oct. 22, 2020

Steven Reinberg