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Understanding the Different Types of COVID-19 Tests

COVID-19 tests have played a crucial role in the fight against this deadly virus and the dreaded disease it causes. However, not all tests are created equal, and some tests provide accurate results and some do not. 

The general public needs to be informed about the importance of COVID-19 tests. It is also necessary to know the different types of tests to get an idea of the different options available.

What Are the Common Types of COVID-19 Tests Used in Australia?

COVID-19 tests are performed at laboratories, hospitals and specialised testing clinics, and these are administered by health professionals. 

Some tests can be accomplished in non-medical settings, such as homes, offices and other business establishments. These tests provide results minutes after they are conducted, and these can be done DIY style.

However, the popular classifications of COVID-19 tests widely used in Australia are based on purpose. Technically, these test categories include diagnostic tests and antibody tests.

What Is a Diagnostic Test?

A diagnostic test is conducted to determine if you are currently infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. This test is the most widely used procedure to determine if you have COVID-19 and plays a significant role in preventing its spread within the general population.

The most popular diagnostic tests designed for COVID-19 are the following:

1. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Tests

The PCR tests work by locating the DNA or RNA of the disease-causing organism (pathogen) from the samples collected. Compared to other tests (such as the rapid antigen tests), the PCR test can detect diseases even during the infection’s earliest stages

A PCR test is conducted by collecting a small sample, and the genetic material included in the sample is then copied multiple times using a process referred to as amplification. This process makes the detection of pathogens, if there are any, more accessible.

2. Rapid Antigen Tests

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are quick home tests that check if you are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. These tests can be conducted and completed at home, even without the assistance of health professionals.

Rapid antigen tests are popular because they provide faster results and serve as a preliminary test to detect infection. The result of this test is used to decide the plan of action to take in case a person tests positive. Typically, positive rapid antigen test results prompt individuals to isolate and seek other confirmatory tests.

What Is an Antibody Test?

The antibody, popularly referred to as serology tests, is designed to search for antibodies in a person’s bloodstream that the body’s immune system has produced in response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Although this test is occasionally used for COVID-19 detection, health experts strongly advise that this should not be used as the sole method of detecting current infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus or utilised to check the body’s immunity.

How Are Rapid Antigen Tests Conducted?

Rapid antigen tests are used to detect the presence of a specific protein that is associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These tests can provide results in as little as 15 minutes and are generally considered quite accurate, with false-positive rates of around 1%. Although they are less sensitive than PCR tests, they still play a significant role in the early detection and controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

There are two main types of rapid antigen tests: nasal swab test and saliva test. Nasal swab tests are the most commonly used type of quick antigen test, as they are less invasive and more accurate than saliva tests. 

The good thing about rapid antigen tests is that they can be accomplished almost anywhere, and you only need to follow the instructions provided on the rapid antigen test kits to complete the test. Furthermore, this test is more affordable compared to PCR tests.

Where to Buy the Best Rapid Antigen Tests in Australia

The supply of rapid antigen tests in Australia is no longer limited compared to the previous year. The test kits can now be purchased anywhere and even in larger volumes. But because accuracy is the top concern for this test, you are strongly encouraged to choose a reliable source of the test kits you are purchasing.

You need to choose a seller with a solid track record providing the consumers with the best kits like us at Dexcon.

Dexcon | Leading Medical PPE Supplier in Australia

At Dexcon, we have extensive experience and a track record in providing our clients in Australia and around the world with the best medical products. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ll purchase the best rapid antigen test kits. Our products also include medical face masks, medical face shields, surgical gowns and more. 

For more details about our products, contact us today.