Types of Covid-19 Screening Tests

In five months, Coronavirus has affected more than 20 million people in the world. Thankfully, we now have more tests that can be used to know past and active infections. These tests can also be used by the health workers, government and scientists to find more about the virus and find a cure or plan mass-level control for it.

To make these tests available and accessible for all, Indus is introducing them in their service. To plan protection and check for active infections, Indus offers the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 detection test, Antibody Test and Antigen Testing for Covid-19 screening.

Types of Covid-19 Screening Tests

What is SARS-CoV-2 RT PCR test?

RT-PCR test or Real-Time Polymer Chain Reaction Test was the only detection test in the beginning stages of Covid-19. It is done by collecting swabs from the throat and nose of suspected Covid-19 patients. Patient's swab samples are analyzed with reagents to check if they have the Covid-19 virus. This is the widely used test to diagnose active corona infection.

What is Rapid Antibody Test?

Rapid Antibody Test looks for antibodies through a patient’s blood samples. According to ICMR, these tests are majorly for mass analysis and reporting. After the Antibody Test is done, the following strategy needs to be followed:

Positive Antibody Test: assessment, treatment, and isolation should begin for the patients.

Negative Antibody Test: an RT PCR test is required. If RT PCR test is positive, the patient is confirmed to have the infection and needs to follow Covid-19 treatment protocols.

It is an important tool for scientists, government and experts to understand and plan further movement strategies and guidelines for the pandemic period.

What is Antigen Testing?

Antigen Test is the newest coronavirus screening that detects proteins that are parts of the coronavirus. This is done in almost the same method as the RT PCR - that is by using nasal fluid in a swab. Antigen tests are able to give the results quicker than RT PCR and are not as expensive. In case the Antigen Test comes negative, doctors may recommend RT PCR for final reporting, depending on the situation and exposure of the person.

To find a solution to make life normal again as before the Covid-19 pandemic, Antibody and Antigen Tests can be used widely in communities and ultimately help in easing the restrictions to slow/stop the spread of the virus. Also, a better understanding of the population that has recovered from Covid-19 would enable experts to estimate the dynamic and rate of the virus’ spread and design better strategies to safeguard the community. In the meantime, Antibody Testing could play an additional role of confirming people who can donate convalescent plasma, a component of blood that contains antibodies. Know how you can get these tests customized as per your requirements of your family.

 

                                                   COVID-19 TESTS COMPARISON

PARAMETER 

RT PCR 

ANTIGEN 

ANTIBODY 

Detection 

Detects the SARS COV genetic material (RNA) 

Detects the proteins/antigens  

in the virus 

Detects the antibody produced by the body in response to the virus 

Report time 

1 to 2 days 

Immediate result (about 30 minutes) 

Time required for the results-1 day if done by ELISA/CLIA method 

Purpose 

Detects active & current infection 

Detects active & current infection 

Detects past infection 

Accuracy 

Very accurate 

May require further confirmation 

Useful for sero-surveillance and health planning 

Cost 

Expensive 

Less expensive 

Less expensive 

Requisites 

Requires doctor’s prescription 

Requires doctor’s prescription/Aadhar Card 

Does not require doctor's prescription 

Advantages 

Useful for individual testing 

Useful for mass testing 

Useful for mass screening 

Sample form 

Naso/Oropharyngeal swabs 

Nasopharyngeal swabs 

Blood 

Sensitivity 

Highly sensitive 

Moderate sensitivity 

Useful for surveillance, not for diagnosis 

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