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TYPES OF COVID-19 TESTING EXPLAINED
1. Conventional Nasal Swab Test (Molecular - PCR)
StarMed uses the Anterior Nasal Specimen collection method, this method is less invasive and results in less patient discomfort than sampling from other upper respiratory anatomical sites.
The procedure for nasal (anterior nasal) sampling is as follows: Using a flocked or spun polyester swab, insert the swab at least 1 cm (0.5 inch) inside the nostril (naris) and firmly sample the nasal membrane by rotating the swab and leaving in place for 10 to 15 seconds. Sample both nostrils with same swab.
The nasal swab extracts RNA, then you see if it matches the COVID RNA.
The average time to wait for results ranges from 24-72 hours.
Molecular tests are the most accurate form of testing.
Covered by insurance 100% in most cases.
2. Rapid Antibody Serum Testing
Rapid IgM-IgG Combined Antibody Test for COVID-19 is a lateral flow immunoassay used to qualitatively detect IgG and IgM antibodies of the novel coronavirus in human serum, plasma or whole blood in vitro.
Antibody testing is less reliable than molecular testing due to in the early days of infection and symptoms the body is still building up its antibody production and might not be detected by the test.
Conversely, for those that test positive it doesn’t always mean that you have COVID-19 as it could indicate past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus HKU1, NL63, OC43, or 229E.
As of now we believe most insurers will not cover the cost of this test but believe that may change soon.
If you are tested before your body builds up the necessary antibodies to fight COVID-19 and you are tested only with the rapid antibody test, it is likely you will test negative. For this reason we feel it is absolutely imperative to provide combination testing, utilizing molecular PCR testing (nasal swab) for early infection, symptomatic, and high risk patients along with rapid antibody testing where it makes sense.
There are seven known corona viruses to effect human beings, one of which is COVID-19. Two others were SARS and MERS which were not highly prevalent in the US. The other four corona viruses are: 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1. Although there is seemingly no reliable prevalence data on these four, these strains are likely more common and could be reason for a false positive. Link to study