What are my options for Covid-19 testing?
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As Coronavirus continues to affect all of our lives in one way or another, testing efforts in the UK continue to dominate the headlines. The UK’s testing strategy has come under a great deal of scrutiny and as of May 17th, Public Health England (PHE) reports that 1,818,712 people have been tested for Covid-19 and the UK government’s aim is to test 200,000 people per day by the end of May. There is also confusion over what different types of tests do, from PCR to antibody testing. We’ve outlined the different types of tests and how they work.
What is a Coronavirus PCR test?
The most common test being used in the UK to test those suspected of having contracted Covid-19 is called a PCR RNA test. PCR tests work by detecting specific genetic material related to the virus. The test is administered in the form of a nasopharyngeal swab and sample collection is straightforward; first from the back of the throat, and then from inside both nostrils. When a sample is taken to a laboratory for analysis, researchers use a technique called polymerase chain reaction, which, in effect, amplifies the sample and the DNA within it to a size that can be compared against the composition of SARS-CoV-2.
Coronavirus Antibody tests
Also known as serological testing, antibody tests are designed to detect antibodies produced by the body in response to a virus. Antibody tests are sampled through a small amount of blood, which is then analysed to detect the relevant antibodies. This can show whether or not a person has previously been infected, even if they are no longer symptomatic, or have shown no symptoms at all. Currently, these tests are not available through the NHS, leaving people with concerns regarding whether they have previously had Covid-19.
Which Coronavirus test is more effective?
To help you evaluate which is the best option for you, we have outlined the benefits and drawbacks of each type of test currently available.
Days 1 – 14: Infection The PCR test can detect coronavirus from the earliest stage of infection and even before the first sign of symptoms. Qured’s Covid-19 PCR RNA (antigen) test has 98% sensitivity (ability to correctly identify positive cases) and specificity and is accurate from the earliest pre-symptomatic stage of infection, however it will not show whether you have had the virus previously. Therefore, the PCR test is most useful whilst you are in the earliest stage of infection or you are not currently displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
Days 21 onwards: Post-Infection The antibody test detects a person's IgG antibody response to Covid-19: if a person tests positive for the antibody, this means they have likely had Covid-19. In the early days of an infection when the body’s immune response is still building, the IgG antibody may not be detected. Therefore this antibody test is recommended for use only after approximately 21 days from the onset of symptoms or a positive PCR test. Qured's IgG antibody test is sourced from a world-leader in global diagnostics. The blood antibody test has a 97.5% sensitivity (true positives) and 100% specificity (true negatives), so you can rest assured Qured's coronavirus tests are accurate.
How Qured can meet your Coronavirus testing needs
At this time, tests are currently only being offered by the NHS to patients who are being admitted to hospital, key workers and to frontline healthcare workers. This leaves many people with uncertainty about the best course of action for their own health and whether they can safely interact with vulnerable family members, for example.
__Qured provides PCR/antigen and IgG antibody tests delivered to your door for Covid-19 Coronavirus. __ Qured's private coronavirus test range helps inform you about your health in relation to Covid-19. Both the PCR/Antigen and antibody tests include telephone a consultation with a GP allowing you to discuss your health concerns and symptoms with a GP.
If you are NHS frontline staff please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for discounted rates.
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