Antibody and Diagnostic Testing for COVID-19

With all the news coverage about COVID-19 testing and the different vaccines that are being administered, it’s no wonder that so many individuals are confused about the different tests that are available and how they differ.  There are two categories of virus testing for COVID-19 – “antibody” and “diagnostic” testing.  Antibody testing, a.k.a. serology testing, determines whether you’ve had the virus and developed antibodies against it.  Diagnostic testing determines if you currently have COVID-19.  All Health Medical Centre offers both antibody and diagnostic testing.

Antibody Testing:  when it’s done and why it’s important

Antibody testing is normally done after a person has recovered from the virus.  A blood sample is drawn either by a finger prick or from a vein in the person’s arm.  The sample is then tested in order to determine if the person has developed antibodies to help fight the virus.  These antibodies are proteins that are produced by the immune system and are essential for fighting the virus and clearing it out.

If the test results show that an individual has these antibodies in their blood, it indicates that they were infected with COVID-19 in the past.  It might also mean that the person has built up some immunity.  However, there isn’t much evidence to confirm that having these immunities means that they’re protected against getting re-infected in the future.  The amount of immunity a person has and how long they have it are still unknown.

Two Types of Tests that are used for the Diagnosis of COVID-19

There are two types of diagnostic tests used to determine if a person is infected with COVID-19 – the RT-PCR test and the rapid antigen test.  Both have been approved by the Public Health Agency of Canada or PHAC for diagnosing the infection:

  • RT-PCR test – also referred to as a “molecular” test or nasal swab test, the RT-PCR test detects genetic material of the COVID-19 virus. A sample is collected from the nose using a nasal swab, but it can also be collected from saliva or the throat).  In most cases, All Health Medical Centre will have the results within 12 to 24 hours.
  • Rapid antigen test – this test detects the presence of certain virus-related proteins by using a nasal swab to collect a fluid sample. Although some testing centers may send samples to an off-site lab for analysis, we normally have results within 30 minutes.  In most cases, positive test results are considered accurate and reliable.

We understand that you may have concerns and questions about the coronavirus or related testing processes. For more information, call All Health Medical Centre at (866) 837-8447 today. We’re here for your assistance. Call now!