CONFUSED ABOUT DIFFERENT TYPES 

OF TESTING FOR COVID-19?

Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: diagnostic tests and antibody blood tests. Diagnostic tests check samples from your respiratory system (such as swabs of the inside of the nose) to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibody blood tests, also called serologic tests, check your blood for antibodies that would show if you have had a previous infection. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off germs. A serologic test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1 to 3 weeks to make antibodies after symptoms occur.

 

Diagnostic Testing (Our standard for testing to diagnose COVID-19)

 

Diagnostic tests can find the virus that causes COVID-19 in samples taken from your respiratory system, such as swabs of the inside of your nose.

 

How to decide if you should get a diagnostic test

 

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help you make decisions about getting a diagnostic test.

  • Most people have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. They may not need to be tested.

  • At this time, there is no treatment specifically approved for people who have    COVID-19.

 

CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are made by state and local health departments or individual healthcare providers.

 

Serologic (Antibody) Testing  (We do not do antibody testing to diagnose for    COVID-19) 

Antibody blood tests, also called serologic tests, check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus. Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off germs. 

 

How to get a serologic test

 

Check with your healthcare provider to see if they offer serologic (antibody) tests.

  • If you test positive:

    • A positive test result shows you have antibodies that likely resulted from an infection with SARS-CoV-2, or possibly a related coronavirus.

    • It’s unclear if those antibodies can provide protection (immunity) against getting infected again. This means that we do not know at this time if antibodies make you immune to the virus.

    • If you have no symptoms, you likely do not have an active infection and no additional follow-up is needed.

    • If you have symptoms and meet other guidelines for testing, you would need another type of test called a nucleic acid test. This test uses respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose, to confirm COVID-19. A serologic test alone cannot tell if you definitely have COVID-19.

    • It’s possible you might test positive for antibodies and you might not have or have ever had symptoms of COVID-19. This is known as having an asymptomatic infection, or an infection without symptoms.

  • If you test negative:

    • If you test negative for COVID-19 antibodies, you probably did not have a previous infection that has gotten better. However, you could have a current infection. It’s possible you could still get sick if you have been exposed to the virus recently, since antibodies don’t show up for 1 to 3 weeks after infection.

    • Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may not develop antibodies.

    • If you have symptoms and meet other guidelines for testing, you would need another type of test called a nucleic acid test. This test uses respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose, to confirm COVID-19. A serologic test alone cannot tell if you definitely have COVID-19.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

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SMC does not do antibody testing to diagnose COVID-19 
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