What Are The Different Tests for COVID?

What Are The Different Tests for COVID?

COVID is a highly infectious disease that presents in different ways. Some patients do not require hospitalization because their symptoms are mild to moderate. However, some require intensive care because their symptoms are severe and may lead to death. There are four tests available right now in the marketplace to see if you have COVID. The first one is called the PCR test and is the most common approach doctors use for Covid-19 testing in Southaven. It can be frustrating having to wait up to 12 days to get back results. However, this test is convenient since it takes about two days to get back results.

To obtain PCR results, your doctor looks for two things, a little piece of protein and some RNA, which is a nucleotide that care providers do a machine test for to see if you have it in your body. If you do, then you will know that you have had an infection with COVID. Although your doctor will not tell if the virus is still alive, the sure thing is that you did get exposure to the virus.

The second test is an antigen test. When doctors perform this test, they look for a piece of the virus to see if you have been infected differently from the RNA and the protein on the PCR test. Performing this test does not take a lot of time. Your doctor will finger prick you and draw some blood for testing. The test can be done in one appointment on the same day, instead of sending it off after two days, like for the PCR.

When you get infected, your body will respond to the virus by making antibodies, which lock onto the virus and keep it from spreading to other cells. This effect eventually leads to the death of the virus. There are two antibodies:

  • IgM: These antibodies are usually large and robust. They rush into the infection as quickly as they can.
  • IgG: These cells have the power to multiply up to 500,000X a minute.

A test for IgM becomes positive around seven days after the virus infects your body, and they usually disappear about 21 days after the virus is in your body. However, those are not strict numbers but plus or minus a day or two. The IgG usually appears between day 10 to 14.

Which COVID test should you take?

PCR is the definitive test, but it takes two days to get the results back. Your doctor may use a finger stick or a blood test for the antigen test and take a single day. The IgG and IgM antibodies tests are not reliable all the time. You have to be keen about which one you use: You have had the infection at least seven days if IgM is positive or probably closer to 14 days if IgG is positive.

Contact Desoto Family Care Clinic to learn about COVID-19 and determine which test you want to be done so that you take the necessary action to prevent or treat the virus. 

Paul Petersen