PCR Tests vs. Lateral Flow Tests vs. Serology Tests

The COVID-19 pandemic remains a grave threat to humankind. Despite the availability of vaccines, it is essential to maintain vigilance and awareness of health and safety procedures. In addition, the virus has been targeting unvaccinated people with a compromised immune system. Symptoms may manifest within fourteen days of the contact with an infected person. However, some individuals do not exhibit any symptoms. The coronavirus can enter the body without restriction even if a person appears healthy.

COVID-19 testing is one approach to determine if an individual is affected. Its primary objective is to lower the transmission rate and rapidly treat positive individuals. Additionally, experts can utilize it for contact tracing and individual isolation. The PCR, lateral flow, and serology tests are standard tests. Read on to learn more about these three terms.

PCR Tests



The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test detects the genetic material of an organism. It examines your upper respiratory tract, including your nose and throat, to see if virus infection is active. In most instances, a nose or throat swab is conducted by medical personnel and sent to a lab for analysis. Using specialized tools, scientists interpret the results. In contrast to other tests, the results can be received a few days after testing, depending on their travel duration. Medical professionals favour this test because of its high level of accuracy. Positive test subjects should isolate themselves for at least five days and contact their healthcare professionals immediately.

Lateral Flow Tests



The lateral flow test is also known as the antigen test . Typically, this test identifies other respiratory infections, such as influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Once this test recognizes a specific viral antigen or protein, a current viral infection is indicated. Health practitioners are permitted to collect nasopharyngeal, nasal swab, and saliva specimens and deposit them in the extraction buffer of the assay. Compared to another COVID-19 testing, the findings can be obtained within 15 to 30 minutes. However, its sensitivity and accuracy are diminished.

Positive antigen testing indicates the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the individual being examined. In contrast, negative antigen testing suggests that no SARS/CoV-2 viral proteins were found. However, this does not eliminate infection with the virus at an earlier stage. If a negative antigen test does not prove that a person is COVID-19-positive, a PCR test must be administered.

Serology Tests



Serology tests the blood for antibodies to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the body, antibodies are produced to combat disease. Most tests detect IgM, the initial antibody directed against a specific pathogen. This often occurs between 1 to 2 weeks. Additionally, IgG is produced as the disease advances. It appears around two weeks later on testing. Positive antibody testing is not regarded as grounds for patient exclusion. Confirm the presence of symptoms with an antigen test or PCR.

Negative antibody tests may suggest that you are still susceptible to the disease, whereas positive tests indicate that you have previously been exposed to the virus. False positives are possible, but they are uncommon. In certain instances, your health practitioner may suggest you undergo a second confirmatory test for optimal findings. A test for antibodies cannot determine the duration of your sickness or the likelihood of subsequent illnesses. Antibody tests cannot identify whether a person is infected, contagious, or carries the coronavirus.

Find your reliable testing provider.

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