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Which Is the Best Test for COVID-19?

Updated: May 8

With the pandemic still raging on, we need to keep taking conscientious preventative measures like washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing along with getting tested for the virus.

The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for several COVID-19 tests. But which test is the best to detect the virus? Let’s find out.


Molecular Tests (PCR tests, nucleic acid tests, viral RNA tests)


How is it done?


It’s done through throat swabs, nasal swabs, and tests of bodily fluids like saliva.


Where can you get this test from?


At a hospital, a testing facility, at your home, or in your car. According to the FDA, you don’t need to have a prescription to get a molecular test.


What does this test look for?


Molecular test tests for SARS-CoV-2, a virus which causes COVID-19. The specimen will be added to a thermal cycler along with special chemicals so that the RNA of the virus can duplicate itself. If that happens, the cycler will show a fluorescent light and it will mean that the test is positive.


How long does it take to get the results?


The time depends on the testing facility’s capacity. You can have the test results within a few hours, but usually, they take a day. At Good Hearts Testing, we promise same-day results.


Are the tests accurate?


Your test may show a false negative (when you have the virus, but the test shows otherwise) if the infection has stayed in your body for long. A research study showed that the probability of a false negative was 20% when the virus was five days old and 100% when the virus just entered the body.

It’s less likely that you get a false positive (when you don’t have the virus, but the test shows otherwise). A false-positive result is often a consequence of lab contamination.

To ensure accuracy, testing services use nasal swabs as they result in fewer false negatives than other sampling methods.




Antigen Tests


How is it done?


It’s done using a throat or a nasal swab.


Where can you get this test from?

At a hospital, a testing facility, at your home, or in your car. You don’t need a prescription for a home antigen test.


What does this test look for?


This test looks for antigens, which are protein fragments, on the virus’s surface to determine the presence of a pathogen that causes COVID-19.


How long does it take to get the results?


The technology used for an antigen test is similar to a rapid strep or a pregnancy test. Therefore, the results may be available within minutes. At Good Hearts Testing, we promise results in fifteen minutes.


Are the tests accurate?


Antigen tests often result in false negatives. Therefore, the FDA doesn’t favor antigen testing as the sole determinant of the virus. As antigen testing is less expensive, quicker, and doesn’t need complex technology to perform compared to molecular testing, health experts recommend individuals to get tested repeatedly for better results.




Antibody Tests (serologic testing)


How is it done?


The testing service takes a sample of your blood either from your vein or through a finger prick.


Where can you get this test from?


At a hospital or a testing facility.


What does this test look for?


This test can detect antibodies that your immune system has produced as a response to the virus. The test will look for one of these two antibodies:

  • IgM (immunoglobulin M) antibodies made in the earlier period of the infection

  • IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies made after the IgM antibody and lasts for longer

How long does it take to get the results?


Results come in a few days.


Are the tests accurate?


Conducting an antibody test in the early stages can result in false negatives because it takes around one or more weeks for your immune system to create antibodies. Research shows that antibodies can disappear within few months. While the test shows that you’ve been exposed to coronavirus, there’s no proof that you have long-lasting immunity.


Get Tested Today


Good Hearts Testing provides a COVID-19 testing facility in Miami. Whether you want to take a drive-thru COVID test, travel PCR test, antibody test, corporate COVID test, or group COVID test, we offer quick results. You can get our Antigen test results within 15 minutes. For accurate covid testing, book an appointment at our testing center today.


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