COVID-19 Testing

Each test type mentioned in this article is available on the PPE.Exchange marketplace with varying order minimums. The ease of purchasing, security of information, and quality of products  on our marketplace provides a unique opportunity for businesses to seamlessly integrate regular testing into their practices to stay operational.  

COVID-19 Testing is, and figures to remain, a hot topic in the healthcare industry. With examples ranging from professional sports leagues like the NBA, MLB, and NFL to government programs in the UK, the use case for frequent testing is well-founded.

As we trek deeper into this ‘new normal’ where attempts at contact-tracing and rapid testing make global headlines, healthcare professionals and businesses alike must understand not only the details of each test type, but how to purchase each type of test.

There are three broad categories of COVID-19 testing: PCR Testing, Antigen Testing, and Antibody Testing.  These tests present different sets of constraints when it comes to accessibility, administration, and accuracy.

Molecular Testing
Alternate Names: Viral Test, Diagnostic Test, NAAT, PCR, LAMP
These tests are administered by healthcare professionals, and they require laboratory analysis, both of which make them costly in time and in money. A nasal swab collects, among other things, the genetic material of the virus (a.k.a the RNA) to detect active infections.  Molecular testing has become more accurate throughout this pandemic, with accuracy rates hovering around 80-85%. One prevalent problem with molecular testing is the time it takes to obtain results. The need for laboratory analysis makes it difficult for results to be returned to the patient within 24 hours. Molecular testing is the most fool-proof way to determine that you do not have COVID-19. While it is improving and it has the ability to detect the virus early, it is not as agile as some other methods. 

Antigen Testing
Alternate Names: Rapid Diagnostic Test.
Antigen testing detects proteins on the virus to deliver results as opposed to detecting the virus’s genetic material. Because observation of proteins doesn’t require laboratory analysis, antigen tests can be performed and observed, start-to-finish, in under an hour. Positive results of antigen tests are extremely reliable. However, with all rewards come risks: negative tests are not quite trustworthy. The false negative rate in antigen testing ranges from 50-90%, which means there is a chance that every other negative result is a false negative. Like molecular testing, antigen testing only detects active infections. All things considered, people who have strong reason to believe they are infected should seek antigen tests. 

Serological Testing
Alternate Names: Antibody Test, Blood Test
Serological testing seeks to identify the body’s immune response to a virus. It is administered professionally by sampling blood typically through a finger prick. These tests usually take at least a day to provide results given that they must be tested in a laboratory, and they do not detect active infections. 

Other types of testing:

Other types of testing:
Saliva Testing: Relies on PCR technology (a molecular test) but requires less diligence in administration. It is also far less invasive than nasal swab PCR tests.  Saliva tests are a promising at-home option but still require laboratory analysis, which restricts the agility and scalability of the method. 

Plan your company’s testing future to bring stability to the workplace, and browse the PPE.Exchange test kit listings today to find the option that works best for your organization. 

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