COVID Testing: How to Interpret Results

As new strains of COVID virus are surfacing recently you need to know what type of covid testing can be used to diagnose your condition. Learn about different COVID testing types in this article.

What are the different COVID test types?

There are 3 main types of COVID-19 tests, two for diagnosis (molecular and antigen tests) of the active infections, and one test (antibody test) that is used for antibodies in the body from a previous infection.

  1. Molecular tests:

These tests include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, viral RNA tests, and nucleic acid tests which are done by taking nasal swabs, throat swabs, and through bodily fluids testing like saliva. These tests can detect genetic material from the virus and have an extremely low rate of false-positive results but a higher rate of false-negative results.

However, you can get the most accurate molecular test if you take a deep nasal swab test as the collected samples are common from the back of the nose, or near your throat where a higher amount of virus can be found in the body. These tests are highly sensitive, which means they can accurately determine when a person has an infection or not. However, the method is extremely uncomfortable, and results can take hours to days to come. Sometimes due to its sensitivity, it picks up inactive virus fragments as well when a person no longer has an active infection.

  • Antigen tests:

Antigen tests can be done by using nasal or throat swabs to check the proteins (antigens) from the virus. These tests are also used in pregnancy tests. You can get results in just 10 to 30 minutes, and it’s less expensive than other forms and uses simpler operations than PCR tests. These tests are highly accurate for positive results, but not in the negative results as the molecular tests are because they cannot detect early forms of infection.

  • Antibody tests:

Antibody tests are different from diagnostic tests because they use blood tests to look for a previous COVID-19 infection by checking the presence of antibodies (which is a type of protein that is produced by the immune system when foreign invaders are present inside the body). In this case, COVID-19 neutralizes the form present in a person’s system after infection. These antibodies are produced when your body gets exposed to the virus, so an antibody test can show whether or not you were infected in the past. The results may take some days after testing. However, these tests produce many false negative results because it is not known how long antibodies last after exposure or infection, how long any immunity fights the infections, and how many antibodies are needed in a person to recover from the virus will show a positive test result.

Remember, many different elements are involved in how accurate or reliable tests will be taken at the time you get exposure and the infection that is present in your body because every testing type has different strengths or weaknesses. So, it’s essential to remember that the best test for any person is chosen by their doctor based on your symptoms and medical history.

How to interpret your test results?
Your test results can tell different things about your COVID-19 infection depending on the type of test you take.

Molecular and antigen tests are used to diagnose whether you’re infected with COVID-19 or not. So, if your result comes positive then you’re infected with the coronavirus, and if your result comes negative then you’re not infected with coronavirus. Remember, molecular tests, especially deep nasal swab negative results, are more accurate than antigen tests.

In case you take an antibody test, then your positive result shows that you have antibodies in your body that occur when you are infected with coronavirus but it doesn’t mean you’re still affected with the virus but maybe you do because negative test results are not perfectly accurate. So, if you’re in doubt about the antibody test result, take a molecular test to confirm whether you’re still infected with coronavirus or not.

If you need help with COVID-19, visit our urgent care clinic in Brooklyn for professional medical support. Doral Health and Wellness has several urgent care clinics around New York that can cater to your family’s medical needs. We also have the best medical providers, physicians and staff that are highly trained in their respective specialties. To know more about the locations of our urgent care clinics, you can visit us at Doral Health and Wellness. If you are looking for urgent care near you, you can visit Doral Health and Wellness Urgent Care. We provide urgent care for common illnesses and injuries. Additionally, we also provide comprehensive care for any related injuries and health problems. We also offer other services, such as vaccinations, immunizations, and blood testing. For more info, visit us or call 1-347-384-5690.

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NY 11216
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(UC 391) | 718-400-1555 | 718-400-1245

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NY 11237
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NY 11207
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(UC 43) | 718-971-1144 | 718-971-1145

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NY 11234
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(UC 5002) | 718-400-1222 | 718-400-1247

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NY 11212

155 Bay Street, Staten Island,
NY 10301
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(UC 155) | 718-400-1333 | 718-400-1243