WHAT TYPES OF TEST ARE AVAILABLE at TOPHILL HOSPITAL?
There are essentially two broad categories of testing:
- Antigen test (frequently referred to as a rapid test). This test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. Turnaround time for results is usually very quick and in some cases, results can be reported within 15 minutes.
- PCR test. PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” in SARS-CoV-2 detection. This test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms. The test can be done in a clinic, hospital, or even in your car. Turnaround time is longer, generally in the 2-3 day range but results can be in as little as 24 hours. When demand is high, results can take a 2-3 days.
Value of getting tested.
There are several aspects of that.
The first one is to identify whether a person has the disease or not. And that's important to be able to provide therapy, treatment, but also to specify who do we need to go and test further of the contacts of that specific person. So that's a big value to address the pandemic.
When we talk about the value of the antibody testing, they become very important to know whether the person was exposed in the past. And, when you hear about understanding the immunity of the population, if you will, that is done through antibody testing.
Types of Testing
There are three categories of testing,
The first one is to identify whether the actual COVID virus genetic material exists, and that's called a NAAT test, N-A-A-T. And it's the PCR testing where you would have a nasal pharyngeal swab or a pharyngeal swab taken. And then they look for the genetic material of the virus itself.
The second type of testing is when they try to identify one of the outer proteins of the viral shell or envelope, if you will. And that's called antigen testing. So, they try to detect the outer protein of the virus.
And the third type is to detect within the human body, whether they’ve developed antibodies. So, it looks for antibodies that are specific to the outer portion of the virus itself. So, it shows whether the individual has mounted an immune response or developed immunity towards that specific virus or to COVID. So, those are the three big categories of testing that exist.