COVID-19 tests have been in high demand since they became available during the initial months of the pandemic. Employers and workers have sought COVID tests, particularly since many businesses and workplaces have reopened with newly enforced regulations.
COVID has required a lot of global and national adaptation. Many people have found themselves struggling to keep up with the constant stream of changes to guidelines, regulations, and best health practices. COVID tests have been an inexplicably useful resource, but there's a lot of information out there about what tests are available and the differences between them.
COVID tests fall under two categories: diagnostic tests or antibody tests. These two types test for COVID differently and, depending on what you're seeking in terms of results, it's important to understand what makes them distinct.
Learn about the different types of COVID tests that are available to you today through Mobile Medical Corporation's occupational health and safety services.
Diagnostic COVID Tests
Diagnostic tests are used to determine whether or not you're currently infected with the virus. A diagnostic test is typically performed if you're currently experiencing any of the common COVID symptoms, such as shortness of breath, cough, or fever. Diagnostic tests are also useful if you've been in contact with someone else who has tested positive for COVID, as these can give you results before you develop evident symptoms. The different types of COVID diagnostic tests are molecular tests, antigen tests, and point of care tests.
Molecular COVID Test
Molecular tests can identify COVID by detecting the virus' RNA in a fluid collection sample, typically through a nasal swab. RNA is the genetic material that comes directly from the COVID virus. These tests can also be referred to as PCR (polymer chain reaction) tests. This specific test is considered to be the more sensitive of the COVID tests and therefore has a high accuracy rate.
The nasal swab samples can be self-administered or performed by a medical professional. The results for molecular COVID tests, however, are sent to a testing laboratory to be processed. The timeframe for the results from molecular tests depends on the facility's current capacity.
Mobile Medical offers molecular COVID tests for employers as a part of our occupational health services.
Antigen COVID Test
Antigen tests are engineered to detect the proteins on the surface of the COVID virus. These tests can have rapid results, most times in just a matter of minutes. However, in order for COVID to be detected through an antigen test, a significant presence of COVID is needed for the most accurate results. The results will be shown through the testing device that comes with your test.
Antigen tests are commonly conducted right at home and are widely available. Commonly, you'll hear antigen tests referred to as "at home tests" or "rapid tests". You can find them in drug stores or through a doctor.
Consider taking advantage of Mobile Medical's antigen testing services for employers, as these tests are easy to administer and provide fast results.
Point of Care COVID Test
Point of care (POC) COVID tests are performed by medical professionals. What makes this type of COVID testing different is that it's administered in a healthcare setting. The most common places where point of care testing is offered are at urgent care facilities, hospitals, or a retail pharmacy clinic.
Point of care tests came about in an effort to provide readily available testing and results to the patient. POC testing also ensures better accuracy of results.
Mobile Medical offers point of care testing services on-site workplaces.
Antibody COVID Tests
COVID antibodies are present in your body after you've been previously infected with the COVID-19 virus. To be tested for COVID antibodies, you only need a quick finger prick. The blood sample then can be tested to determine whether antibodies have developed as a part of your immune response to COVID. Keep in mind that after initial exposure, it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop antibodies.
Antibody tests are offered through a healthcare provider and the blood analysis is performed in a lab. Testing positive for antibodies can also occur after you've been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Antigen vs. Antibody Tests
Antibodies and antigens are both core components in your body's immune responses. Whereas an antigen is a molecular substance that creates an immune response within your body, an antibody is a protein that is produced in your blood in response to an antigen. Antibodies bind to antigens in order to eliminate them from your body. You can think of antigens as what tries to harm your body, and the antibodies as what tries to make your body healthy again.
When trying to decide which type of COVID test you're looking for, it can help to know that antibody tests have certain inabilities. For example, antibodies can be present after a vaccination for COVID-19 is received. If you're testing to see if you've had COVID but you've also been vaccinated, this can give you a false positive.
If taken too soon, antibody tests can also return with a negative result, so they may not be the best option if you're looking for answers to early, on-set symptoms. Antigen tests, on the other hand, can tell you if you have a current infection of the COVID virus.
Find the Right Type of Covid Testing for Your Workplace
Mobile Medical Corporation has been working to keep employees safe for decades. At Mobile Medical, we want to make sure you're informed and up to date on all the different types of COVID tests out there so that you can make a well-informed decision for your work environment.
Mobile Medical offers a variety of solutions for your workplace's specific needs to stay safe against COVID-19. Our testing services include point of care antigen and antibody testing, as well as molecular diagnostic testing with lab analysis.
Reach out to Mobile Medical today and let us help you determine what testing options work best for you.