Covid-19 tests explained 2022: Antigen, Antibody and PCR

Covid-19 tests explained 2022: Antigen, Antibody and PCR

Understanding Covid tests can feel like learning a new language. There are so many different versions available that knowing which to choose can be tricky, but do not fret! We’ve done the research on antigen, antibody and PCR tests so you don’t have to.

Read on to become a COVID-19 test expert…

Antigen Tests As we enter our third calendar year living with Covid the chances are that everyone has had to do an antigen test themselves at least once. The question is what are they? And how do these tests actually work?

Antigen tests tell the user if they are currently positive with COVID-19 commonly known as a Lateral Flow test. Such tests can either performed at home or by a medical professional. To obtain a sample, tests require a throat and nose, nose or saliva swab from the person who is testing. A lateral flow test uses a solution to identify whether proteins of the virus are present.

These tests look very similar to pregnancy tests because they use the same technology!

Antigen tests available now Antigen tests for COVID-19 have been developed and a large range of tests are now available:

Antigen test kit These antigen tests are the most commonly used. They include a nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab to take a sample from the back of the throat and the nose.

Results from a rapid antigen test take fifteen to twenty minutes allowing the user to discover whether or not they are infected as quickly as possible.

Antigen and flu test kit Sometimes the symptoms such as a dry cough, fever and fatigue persist even after a negative lateral flow test. Carrying out another test is a good idea, or use an antigen and flu combo test kit.

Flu symptoms can be very similar to that of COVID-19. This Covid test kit can identify if either of these viruses are present, speeding up diagnosis and allowing healthcare staff to administer the correct care to patients.

Antigen saliva test kit For some people a nasopharyngeal swab is unsuitable and may cause mild to severe stress. Panodyne’s saliva swab test combats this discomfort. It has the ability to discern if someone is positive with COVID-19 using a saliva sample which can be extracted directly from the mouth using a lollipop stick.

These test kits are especially useful to test children and vulnerable people without causing unnecessary distress.

PRC Tests PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests are another way to discover if someone has COVID-19. However, the nose and throat swabs from these tests are sent to a lab.

Let’s take a closer look at a PCR lab. SARS-COV-2 is the pathogen (germ) which causes COVID-19. This pathogen uses single strand RNA as its genetic material to attach to human cells.

  1. During a PCR lab test a single strand of RNA is taken from the swab sample.
  2. This RNA strand is converted into double stranded DNA in a process called reverse transcription.
  3. The double stranded DNA is separated into two strands.
  4. Primers (small DNA containing SARS-COV-2) are introduced to these split strands.

RESULTS Positive – If the primers attach and begin to duplicate the DNA it means SAR-COV-2 is present.

Negative – If the primers do not cause the strands to replicate themselves.

False negative – Can occur if the person has only recently contracted the virus and there is not yet enough genetic material for the PCR to identify.

…And breathe, that is as scientific as we shall delve into the COVID-19 testing process!

Antibody tests Antibody tests are used to identify if someone has protective antibodies for COVID-19. These antibodies could occur due to being previously infected by the virus and recovering, or antibody presence could be thanks to receiving the vaccine.

A swab of the mouth or nose cannot find antibodies, a blood test must be carried out because they reside in the blood stream.

If antibodies are present this should provide some protection against COVID-19, however they do not make catching the virus impossible, nor can they stop someone from transmitting the virus to others.

Antibody test Panodyne’s test kits continue to be easy to use. With step-by-step instructions the user is able to take a small blood sample from their finger to detect if they have COVID-19. This can pin-point the stage of the virus e.g., early or late.

There are four possible outcomes with antibody tests:

  1. Negative: There are no antibodies present – the person does not have COVID-19.
  2. Positive IgM: There are new antibodies present – you currently have COVID-19
  3. Positive IgG: You have had COVID-19 and your body has produced antibodies to fight the virus.
  4. Positive IgM and IgG: You are in the later stages of COVID-19 and are currently fighting the virus.

Vaccine antibody test The vaccine antibody test kit is the first of its kind available to test for antibodies that have been produced by the vaccine without visiting a lab. It is also able to identify antibodies produced during a previous infection from COVID-19.

This process of highlighting what caused the antibodies is made possible due to how the vaccine works. A vaccine for COVID-19 presents only a part of the virus to the body, triggering specific protective antibodies. On the other hand, people who naturally contract and fight off the virus will produce several antibodies in the search for an effective defence.

The testing device is able to detect the types of antibodies present and therefore can determine whether they have been produced by the vaccine or natural infection. If any antibodies are present, the person is likely to have some immunity from COVID-19.

Qualitative vs quantitative Covid-19 tests Some tests will state on the packaging that they are qualitative or quantitative. Don’t worry, it is not as daunting as it sounds.

Qualitative tests: These give you a positive or negative result.

Quantitative test: These can be more specific and identify which antibodies are present in the blood.

Rounding up There we have the differences between an antigen, PCR and antibody COVID-19 tests. It looks like COVID-19 testing is not going away anytime soon, but testing is helping us to get back to normality. If you experience any symptoms, be safe and take a test before leaving your home to minimise the risk of spread. Stay safe.

Enquiry Form

More News

What is a ClearMask? And who are they for? 2022

What is a ClearMask? And who are they for? 2022

If you know us at Rapid Fire Supplies, you will know that we love the ClearMask. If you’re new here, no worries, you’re in the right place to learn al...

Read More
What are Disposable Nitrile Gloves 2022

What are Disposable Nitrile Gloves 2022

Gloves protect the hands from dangerous substances, chemicals, pathogens and can even protect them from cuts and impact damage. In this blog we’ll exp...

Read More
7 reasons why you should wear safety boots at work

7 reasons why you should wear safety boots at work

1. Protect the sole Safety boots or safety shoes can keep the sole of your foot protected from hazards on the ground. This could be nails and other sh...

Read More

Read More

Read More

List your business

Would you like to register your company on one of the UK's largest and most effective Trade websites?

Are you looking for a reliable and consistent source of enquiries from your industry sector? Would you like to see why Find the Needle clients come back year after year to use our service? If so then feel free to register using the link 'here'.

Office Address: