The difference between the COVID-19 Rapid Antigen and Antibody tests

There has been a lot of confusion within the general population regarding testing for the COVID-19 virus. Medical and health experts have been diligently working to try to get information out that can help everyone and allow them to be proactive in self-care. The antibody and antigen tests each detect a different part of the COVID-19 particles. Understanding the types of COVID-19 tests and their differences empowers people to know when to get testing and what to expect.

The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) that allows a timely access for medical products that are critical in emergency situations. The EUA includes tests and medicines that may be of help during a medical crisis when there isn’t any available approved, adequate, or alternative options. Those products given FDA referrals must comply and pass stringent requirements. The manufacturers of antibody and antigen tests for COVID-19 will receive an FDA EUA referral certificate document for use of their tests for COVID-19 for the purpose of diagnosing the infection of SARS-CoV-2.

Antibody COVID-19 Testing

The human body has an incredible defense system against the attacks of harmful items such as viruses, fungi, parasites, and bacteria. Once any element invades the body that can cause harm, cells send out a kind of army in the form of y-shaped proteins that bind to the invader as a kind of identifier. Once the invaders are identified with this marker the immune system sends out antibodies to search and destroy these particular attackers. It can take from 1-3 weeks for antibodies to form in the body so an individual can be walking around with symptoms of COVID-19 for that entire time and not only potentially have serious illness and hospitalization but can also be transmitting the virus to others.

The importance of a COVID-19 antibody test also known as “serology testing” is to detect whether antibodies have developed in the body due to the virus. Most individuals tht have some virus symptoms opt for antibody testing. COVID-19 antibodies are created as a result of having the virus and are also present in those individuals that have survived the virus. Due to this fact, antibody testing is not recommended as a method for diagnosis as to whether a patient currently has COVID-19.

Antibody testing such as FaStep® Covid-19 Point-of-care Antibody Test is conducted in point-of-care locations only using blood, serum, or plasma. While a majority of the antibody tests must placed in sterile packaging and then be sent out to laboratories to get results, extending waiting time for as long as 3-5 days, FaStep® Covid-19 Point-of-care Antibody Test can supply a healthcare provider with the test results in as little as 15 minutes.

Antigen COVID-19 Testing

An antigen test for COVID-19 is designed for the detection of one or more of the virus particle’s specific proteins. Individuals that are either asymptomatic or symptomatic can get a COVID-19 antigen test at point-of-care locations. The testing is of special importance to anyone with symptoms as well as those that many not have symptoms but might have been exposed to others that had COVID-19. While the current information suggests that both of these individual types may have similar viral genetic material levels there isn’t enough data on the viral load distribution for these people across various settings, demographics, and specimen types. It is therefore recommended that healthcare providers use the more highly sensitive testing products for antigen COVID-19 testing.

Antigen testing is the form that most people are familiar with. The test involves having a Nasal swab or nasopharyngeal swab, depending on the test. The swab is then placed in sterile packaging and sent off to a laboratory for the results. This extends the waiting time for as long as 3-5 days, allowing a potentially infected individual to succumb to the virus and infect others around them. CareStart COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test can be done at the point-of-care location and have results available for the patient in 10 minutes.