With the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 still rampant, it can be quite concerning to travel and go out, even if you’re vaccinated. And if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 like cough, running nose, and a fever, being able to get accessible covid testing is crucial.
In a perfect world, covid testing should be available for everybody. But in the United States, the availability of tests varies. There are places where you need a doctor’s prescription, and some areas do not. Dynamic Diagnostics will enlighten you if you are not familiar with covid testing.
Types of Covid Testing
Covid tests can detect two things; the virus that causes SARS-CoV-2 or the antibodies that your body produces after getting COVID-19.
A Viral Test takes samples from your nose or mouth and looks for viral infections and tells you if you had an infection when you took the test. Rapid tests and laboratory tests are the two types of viral tests.
A rapid test can be completed in minutes and includes antigen and some Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs). In contrast, Laboratory tests take days to complete and include RT-PCR and other NAATs.
An Antibody Test or Serology Test can detect if you have antibodies of COVID-19 in your blood. Antibodies are proteins your immune system created to fight infection and protect you from being infected in the future.
An antibody test shouldn’t be used to determine and diagnose a current infection. Especially if you received the COVID-19 vaccine, you might test positive by some antibody test depending on the type of antibodies the specific test detects
How Do Tests Work
PCR or polymerase chain reaction
PCR is a DNA amplification technique used in the lab to turn small amounts of DNA into large quantities to be analyzed. This technique uses heating and cooling cycles to create millions of copies of a tiny amount of DNA. This is useful for detecting when a pathogen is present or circulating in the body or have traces left behind.
PCR test, referred to as the gold standard, is a molecular test that shows active infection of SARS-CoV-2 accurately within days of exposure, even for asymptomatic people.
Rapid antigen test on the other hand, is a quick and reliable alternative to PCR tests. Also known as Antigen testing, Rapid tests are a more cost-efficient method to diagnose COVID-19. In addition, this test doesn’t require laboratory analysis and can be done in doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.
For PCR, the nasopharyngeal swab is the most common way to collect samples. However, some tests are done by collecting saliva. Once the speciment is acquired, it is sent to the lab for analysis. The first step is collecting a sample using a sterile soft plastic stick swabbed on the inside of a patient’s nose or back of the throat. Then, that stick is sealed and shipped to the testing lab in a cold container.
Lab techs will extract the RNA from the sample, which will tell whether the virus’ genes are present.
The specimen will undergo a PCR to increase the DNA sample using a PCR machine and special chemicals and enzymes. A unique light-measuring device in the PCR machine reads out fluorescence patterns to determine which samples have the virus in them
2. Rapid Testing
The patient’s specimen is collected through a nasal swab or nasopharyngeal.
The specimen is treated with special chemicals to show the virus’s antigens.
The treated specimen is tested using a testing strip to indicate whether the COVID-19 virus antigens are detected.
How Accurate Are These Tests?
Rapid tests are highly reliable but are likely to yield false negatives because of their lower sensitivity versus molecular tests. For validation, most rapid test results are usually followed by a PCR test,
Unlike rapid antigen tests, PCR results don’t require confirmatory tests or double-checking because they’re highly accurate. However, to yield the most precise results, the patient must be infected within 5-7 days before the test.
Get Your Covid Tests at Dynamic Diagnostics
If you feel you have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and you don’t know where to get covid testing, here is great news for you. Dynamic Diagnostics US offers free COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing. You read that correctly, free!
Dynamic Diagnostics US is a veteran-owned, Chicago-based testing company. We have over 50 testing locations all over the United States. We offer FREE Rapid and PCR tests for everybody, even without health insurance ready. Our mission is to help prevent the spread of the virus. Give us a call at +1-800-601-6561.