SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is responsible for the current pandemic that took thousands of lives since the end of 2019 and still in 2020. The researchers now limited information regarding COVID-19 by observing how the virus behaves and manifests itself to humans. Current studies are focusing on finding out how SARS-Cov-2 affects the human body, what is the most effective treatment, and which testing method allows them to diagnose cases and control the pandemic at the same time. Efforts are also made to develop a vaccine that could immunize people of all ages and health backgrounds.
Currently, there are three methods to test for the novel coronavirus, depending on the country you live in and the respective healthcare system:
- Laboratory PCR tests
- Laboratory antibody tests
- COVID-19 rapid kit tests
But how does each test work, and what type of test might be best for the community during the coronavirus pandemic?
Swab samples and PCR testing for COVID-19
One way to get tested for novel coronavirus is through a swab test. The health care provider takes a swab sample of your throat or upper respiratory tract with the help of a long Q-tip. He or she places your sample in a sealed tube and sends it off for testing. To analyze the swab and find out whether you have SARS-Cov-2 virus in your body or not, the lab doctor performs a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This technique is quite common and takes some hours to provide you with results. A PCR test detects the genetic material of the virus and can tell you if you have the disease or not. Through a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, the lab doctors can compare your sample to the SARS-Cov-2 virus by targeting 100 specific nucleotides that include two genes. If both genes are detectable in your swab sample, the test is positive. If none of these two genes is detectable, then your test is negative. Finally, if one of these two genes is detectable, the test is inconclusive, and you should get tested again.
Is the PCR testing method ideal for a pandemic?
However, although the PCR technique is a gold standard and fast method to detect viruses, it is still not fast enough for such an outbreak that COVID-19 is causing. The results take hours to come out, and the method is expensive. Also, physicians find them complicated to execute. On top of that, not every lab can do PCR. Labs that perform PCR techniques need special permission to run the tests. Also, automated test machines that perform PCR require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All of the reasons above have led researchers to develop more rapid techniques that allow speed and accuracy all in one during a pandemic. Such an example is the new COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM Rapid Test from Cellex that provides physicians with the fastest results.
Blood samples and antibody testing for COVID-19
Another way to get tested for the novel coronavirus is antibody testing. The health care provider draws a blood sample with the help of a syringe. He or she places your sample in a sealed tube and sends it off for testing. To analyze the blood sample and find out whether you have SARS-Cov-2 virus in your body or not, the lab doctor performs an antibody testing. Such a test detects antibodies in your body to see whether you have or had the virus in the past. Therefore, it can reveal to you if you already got the infection. This way, you know you're not in danger of getting it again or spreading it to others. However, an antibody test can miss an early case if the person doesn't have antibodies yet. A quite common technique to detect antibodies is the ELISA method. Antibody testing might be superior to PCR during a pandemic because it tells you information on who has an active coronavirus infection and who already recovered from it. However, it still needs a lab and some time to get the results.
Fingerstick rapid kit testing for COVID-19
COVID-19 rapid kit tests are accurate and approved in detecting patients sick from coronavirus. They give you immediate results in fifteen minutes. It is a single-use, qualitative coronavirus kit test for medical professional use.
Rapid kit tests for coronavirus work by detecting IgM and IgG antibodies in the blood from the patients. IgM is the first and largest antibody to appear after the pathogen's invasion in the human body, followed by the formation of the IgG antibody. The IgG antibody makes sure your organism remembers the infection and does not let you get sick from COVID-19 again. The Assure Tech Fingerstick Fastep® COVID-19 IgG/IgM Antibody Rapid Test Device can detect both antibodies, providing you with fast information about the stage of the disease.
How does the Assure Tech Fingerstick Fastep® COVID-19 IgG/IgM Antibody Rapid Test Device show you the results?
As mentioned previously, the test detects antibodies in your blood faster than laboratory techniques do. Depending on how many colored lines you get, it lets you know if you have coronavirus or not. There is a control (C), M, and G line. If only the control (C) line is present, it means you are negative for the virus, and you are not sick. A positive result will give you one of the following alternatives:
- Either control (C) line and M line, meaning you have IgM antibodies
- Either control (C) line and G line, meaning you have IgG antibodies
- Either control (line), M line, and G line, meaning you have both IgM and IgG antibodies
If the control (C) line is not present, it means you did not perform the test correctly, and you need to repeat it.