COVID-19 is the most recent disease that is widely spreading since December of 2019 that kicked off with viral pneumonia by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and fatigue, with other less common signs being nasal congestion, sore throat, loss of taste and smell accompanied with headache and body ache. The patients might also exhibit symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, skin rash, and red eyes. When untreated or left without taking immediate action, all these symptoms might develop into severe conditions like breathlessness, confusion, pressure in the chest with very high temperatures. Many cases of people slip into strokes and other brain inflammations due to the improper supply of oxygen to the brain leading to nerve damages. The situation can be handled well by proper COVID-19 online consultations by everyone.
Types of Tests for Covid
There are two major tests for Covid which are discussed below in detail for everyone to understand how and what to expect from them quickly. They are:
Covid Antigen Test
What is an antigen, and how is an antigen test done?
An antigen is a substance identified by the body’s immune system that responds to the antibodies that are nothing but generating proteins. The covid antigen test is the easiest of the two tests available for Covid and gives the results in a concise duration, say fifteen minutes, and the antigen test price is also affordable. The covid antigen test also does not require any skilled technician or special equipment. The nasal specimen for a covid antigen test can be collected with the help of any healthcare provider or even a layman who is trained with the healthcare professional’s supervision. One can do the covid antigen test with both nasal and nasopharyngeal swab, and the procedure on how it works is stated below:
- The sample for the covid antigen test is taken from the nasopharyngeal or nasal swab.
- The swab from the covid antigen test is directly inserted into a tube that contains a special liquid.
- The liquid used in the covid antigen test extracts the target molecule from the sample, and then the liquid when dispensed on a test cartridge.
- The covid antigen test shows a marking that states whether the result is positive or negative within fifteen minutes.
This covid antigen test is known as the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA test that detects the fragments of proteins from the test samples to look for the virus in them. Testing with the covid antigen test has been the essential step in detecting and identifying people with the disease and breaking the spread chain. This covid antigen test is the latest developed test, just like the other flu test. The rapid antigen test for covid detects the presence of the nucleocapsid protein that causes COVID-19. Therefore, in simpler words, an antigen test meaning is described as it always looks for antigen fragments in the person infected with the virus. The advantage of getting a covid antigen test done is that the result is known in minutes and are comparatively cheaper than the other tests, and is easy to use. The current situation benefits with this test being able to scale around millions of people in a day. Thus, a positive antigen test result denotes active infection, which helps a person take further action through COVID-19 consultation for an adult to treat and recover soon.
A PCR test is known as the polymerase chain reaction test that detects the virus’s genetic material, and this diagnoses the infection in an active COVID patient. It helps the diagnosis by detecting the RNA of the virus, and they also require the same test samples from the throat or nasal swabs.
As its name suggests, an antibody test looks out for antibodies in a person’s immune system developed in response to the viral attack on the body. This will only help someone know whether the person is exposed to COVID, and this means that he/she will be immune to the disease for quite some time, but it is unclear how long. The antibody test is done on a man’s blood plasma or serum, and again antibodies are another kind of protein like antigens. Thus, a positive antibody test will only denote past infection.
Advantages of Antigen test
There are both downsides and benefits of performing an antibody test, but they are seen to provide more advantages, and therefore, it is considered best in recent days despite their cons. A few of the practical uses of antigen tests are:
- Antigen tests are performed very fast.
- The covid antigen test accuracy is high when they show positive results.
- Antigen test cost is reasonably highly affordable by most of the population.
And the few drawbacks are:
- They are less accurate as they are tested at a significantly faster pace.
- They have higher chances of providing false negatives, which is all the time needed to be confirmed with another PCR test later.
- These tests are comparatively not better than a PCR test and are less sensitive than them. PCR tests are an amplified form of test to detect even the tiny quantities of the virus’s genetic material, and therefore, they are the most sensitive test.
- Antigen tests are designed to be done in certified laboratories only and cannot be done at home. This makes them dependent on some skilled technician with a specialized instrument and not easily accessible by the layman.
When Should One Test for Covid?
People who exhibit the symptoms mentioned above should take a test, and even the ones who do not have any symptoms but have been in close proximity with affected people should consider a test. When it comes to children it is better to go for COVID-19 consultation for kids to get an expert opinion.
Steps to Be Followed During a Covid Test
There are few basic guidelines to be followed while taking any kind of Covid test. They are:
- When a person has given a covid test and is waiting for the result, he/she should remain isolated from others.
- When the testing capacity becomes less due to high demand, preference must be given for highly infected people and older adults or senior citizens.