COVID-19 diagnostic tests may be performed to determine whether you are presently infected with the virus that causes coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19). Consult a federal way covid testing specialist today to learn more.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has authorized the following tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19:
- RT-PCR test
This COVID-19 test, known as a molecular test, identifies viral genetic material using a laboratory technique known as RT-PCR or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. A healthcare practitioner collects a fluid sample by inserting a long nasal swab into the nasal passage and collecting fluid from the back of the nasal cavity. A shorter nasal swab or a very short swab can capture a sample. In some situations, a healthcare provider will inject a lengthy swab (oropharyngeal swab) into the back of your throat. You can also spit into a tube to get a saliva sample.
If examined onsite, results may be available in minutes; if transferred to an outside lab, results may take 1 to 3 days — or more in regions with test processing delays. When conducted correctly by a health care expert, RT-PCR tests are extremely accurate. However, the quick test might miss certain instances.
- Antigen test
This COVID-19 test looks for specific proteins in the virus. Some antigen tests can yield findings in minutes using a lengthy nose swab to collect a fluid sample. Others may be sent to a laboratory for testing.
When the instructions are properly followed, a positive antigen test result is considered accurate. However, there is an increased risk of false-negative findings, which means you might be infected with the virus yet have a negative result. The doctor may advise an RT-PCR test to confirm a negative antigen result depending on the circumstances.
The Flu SC2 Multiplex Assay, an RT-PCR assay, can identify three viruses simultaneously: COVID-19, influenza A, and influenza B (flu). To test for all three viruses, just one sample is required. This may come in handy during flu season. A negative test result, however, does not rule out the likelihood of any of these illnesses. So, depending on your symptoms, potential exposures, and your provider’s clinical opinion, the testing process may require additional phases.
Why is it done?
A COVID-19 diagnostic test may be required in the United States if:
- You have had direct contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Even if you do not have any symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises being tested at least five days following exposure.
- COVID-19 symptoms include a fever, cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath.
- Some schools or companies need you to take a test for screening purposes.