COVID-19 Testing

According to the FDA website there are two types of COVID-19 testing. A diagnostic test, that can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and if positive you should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests which detect the virus – molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus.

An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by your immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks or more after recovery. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose an active coronavirus infection. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus in the future.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

Different Types of Coronavirus Tests

 Molecular TestAntigen TestAntibody Test
Also known as…Diagnostic test, viral test, molecular test, nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), RT-PCR test, LAMP testRapid diagnostic test (Some molecular tests are also rapid tests.)Serological test, serology, blood test, serology test
How the sample is taken…Nasal or throat swab (most tests) Saliva (a few tests)Nasal or throat swabFinger stick or blood draw
How long it takes to get results…Same day (some locations) or up to a weekOne hour or lessSame day (many locations) or 1-3 days
Is another test needed…This test is typically highly accurate and usually does not need to be repeated.Positive results are usually highly accurate but negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test.Sometimes a second antibody test is needed for accurate results.

Just keeping you informed.

Coronavirus Basics, FDA, (7/16/20), Retrieved from

As of mid-July, 2020, McKinsey Industry, claimed there was a shortage of the supplies needed to collect samples (such as swabs and viral-transport mediums) and a limited number of testing sites. 

This has led to long waiting times for a COVID-19 test.  This has affected a key segment of the population (such as healthcare workers) going untested.  With that said currently (August, 2020) many hospitals are only testing patients that are symptomatic. Please continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands!  To reporting adverse events

Bennam, M., Dey, A., Gambell, T., and Talwar, V. (July 15, 2020) COVID-19: Overcoming Supply Shortages for Diagnostic Testing

Coronavirus Basics, FDE. (07/16/20). Retrieved from http://www. fda/gov/consumers/consume.

Dr. Marilyn Crosby

Published by Dr. Marilyn Crosby, PhD, MBA, MSN RN

I am an registered nurse with a variety of nursing experience in many areas of healthcare, including critical care, research, program management, quality, and complementary care. I have a passion for "all things related to health & wellness" and want to share pertinent information. Stay Well!

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