There are currently two different forms of testing:
Antibody Testing – Typically, this involves testing blood forthe presence of the antibodies that may occur after an infection has been detected by a body’s immune system. Antibody tests are not used for diagnosis of COVID-19, but instead to assist in identifying if someone may have come in contact with the virus and could have infected them. A positive antibody test may require a viral test to check for active infection.
Viral Testing – Testing is done through a nasal swab. POCHS uses front-of-the-nose nasal swabs to provide both rapid PCR and rapid antigen Covid viral testing. These are then analyzed to determine within 15-30 minutes if you have an active COVID-19 infection. Some decisions on testing are made on a state or local level. At this time, we do not know if individuals previously infected with COVID-19 can catch it again. You may be asked by an employer or when traveling to have tests on a regular basis such as before entering and leaving a country or on a monthly or other regular basis.
For Reliable and Rapid Results
Antigen tests are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection. Antigen tests are currently authorized to be performed on nasopharyngeal or nasal swab specimens placed directly into the assay’s extraction buffer or reagent. Rapid antigen tests perform best when the person is tested in the early stages of infection with SARS-CoV-2 when viral load is generally highest. They also may be informative in diagnostic testing situations in which the person has a known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Molecular/PCR tests are also known as Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT), and are based on detection of the virus's genetic material in a sample from the patient's nose. These types of tests are described as typically highly accurate. Molecular testing uses isothermal technology, proprietary enzymes and constant temperature control to achieve the fastest available RNA amplification. This proven molecular system greatly reduces the time for results, allowing healthcare providers to make patient care decisions sooner. Some hospitals use it to test patients before surgery.
In general, a positive antibody test is presumed to mean a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at some point in the past. It does not mean they are currently infected. Antibody test results should NOT be used to diagnose someone with an active infection. Antibodies start developing within 1 to 3 weeks after infection. We currently don’t have enough information yet to say whether someone will definitely be immune and protected from reinfection if they have antibodies to the virus.