Test for COVID-19

There are 2 forms of COVID-19 tests available

  1. A viral test (PCR)
  2. An antibody test (Serology)

Candidates for test

Viral tests are used to know if you’re having a current infection. But this test is not required by all.

  1. If you have mild illness and will recover without treatment at home, and do not need the test.
  2. If you have COVID-19 symptoms and want to have it checked, first consult your doctor. You may visit the website of your local health care provider or call on the phone.
  3. Patients admitted in hospitals with symptoms of COVID-19.
  4. People working in hospitals.
Viral Test (PCR)

Samples are taken from the upper respiratory system (nose or saliva) with the help of swabs and sent to the laboratory for detection of COVID-19 virus RNA. Test report usually comes within one to two days.

  • If you test POSITIVE: You have an acute (ongoing) infection. You should take precautionary measures after consulting your doctor.
  • If you test NEGATIVE: You probably are not infected. But you must take safety measures.
Antibody Test (Serology)

Antibody tests evaluate your blood by searching for antibodies that can indicate whether you have had a prior infection with the COVID-19-causing virus. The test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection, depending on when someone was infected and on the timing of the test. Diagnosis of COVID-19 should not be made using antibody tests. You’ll need a viral test to see if you are currently infected.

  • If you test POSITIVE:
    • You may have antibodies from previous infection from COVID-19 or related virus of coronavirus family
    • You had a previous asymptomatic infection

If you have symptoms you may need viral test after consultation of your doctor. If you have no symptoms then there is no need to follow up.

  • If you test NEGATIVE:
    • You might not have COVID-19 before
    • The test could be negative, as it normally takes 1 to 3 weeks to produce antibodies after infection. You can even get sick if you’ve recently been introduced to the virus. This means you can spread the virus anyway.
    • Some people may take longer for antibodies to develop, and some people may not develop antibodies.

Regardless of whether you are testing positive or negative, the results do not confirm if you can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 or not. Keep taking measures to protect yourself and others.

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