Testing for coronavirus – types and application

Appropriate preventive treatment and diagnostics for coronavirus infection are becoming crucial in the “new normality” of the epidemic time. Find out more about the types and application of diagnostics.

Genetic tests detecting the presence of RNA of the virus

  • The test detects SARS CoV-2 RNA in the body at any given time.
  • The material for the test is taken from the throat and from the nose with a special swab.
  • The test allows for clear confirmation or exclusion of the presence of the virus in the collected material.
  • This is currently the only test recommended by the WHO as a test to confirm infection.

 

After about 5-7 days from infection, it is possible to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA by genetic testing. For this purpose, the rtPCR method is used. In order to carry out tests, it is important to have professional equipment, exquisitely trained diagnosticians and proper reagents. With automated processes, the test is performed in an extremely efficient manner, and the result is available after 24-36 hours. Only a genetic test gives an unambiguous result on coronavirus infection. This is currently the only recommended way of infection confirmation in Poland – also in asymptomatic patients.

Serological tests detecting antibodies

  • The test detects antibodies produced by the body in response to coronavirus infection.
  • The test material is blood.
  • IgM and IgG antibodies are detected.
  • If antibodies are detected, it is recommended to confirm the infection with a genetic test to assess the stage of the disease development in the patient.

 

Antibodies against the virus usually appear in blood 5 to 21 days after the symptoms start. First, antibodies of IgM class are produced. After the next few days, IgG class antibodies also appear. If antibodies are found, a molecular rtPCR test is performed. If the result is negative, it is concluded that the person was infected.

Serological tests can be used as screening. Despite the infection, it may turn out that the body has not yet produced antibodies at the time of the test. The result is not always clear either. Therefore, if the serological test is positive, it is recommended to confirm the infection by a molecular test.

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