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  • Strategic HSE Systems Inc.

So many Covid tests, which one do I need?

With the global pandemic we've been facing, the world of COVID-19 has been confusing and often difficult to navigate. BUT on the bright side, with COVID-19 vaccines and advancements in testing, things are starting to look up! There are a variety of COVID-19 Tests available so people are able to live their day-to-day lives safely, but how do you know which one you need? We've gathered some data to distinguish the difference between each test and we hope it helps you out a little!

We now offer PCR Rapid Tests! We are proud to be one of the only locations in Alberta to offer PCR Rapid Tests. With this test, you can get your results in under 20 minutes! They're also perfect for most international travel destinations if you're looking to hit the beach.

PCR Testing

Quick Facts:

  • Gold standard test for diagnosing COVID-19.

  • You can get your results in 20 minutes with a PCR Rapid Test.

  • Required for most international travel destinations.

  • Very precise - may get a positive result if you've recently had the virus.

So let's get started with PCR Testing; the PCR or molecular test detects the presence of genetic material, it refers to the laboratory technique called the "Polymerase Chain Reaction." During the PCR process, small segments of nucleic acid (RNA) are copied and replicated until it becomes detectable as SARS-CoV-2 viral DNA.

PCR tests have been the gold standard test for diagnosing COVID-19 infection since the beginning of the pandemic. Since the test is so precise, it is able to detect very small fragments of the virus, which means if you've recently had COVID-19, you may get a positive results even after symptoms have resolved.

Antigen Testing

Quick Facts:

  • More affordable than other forms of testing.

  • You can get your results in 15 minutes with a Rapid Antigen Test.

  • Perfect for on-site employment, restaurants or leisure activities in the event that you're not vaccinated.

A viral antigen is a molecular structure found on the surface of the virus. Examples of antigens found on the SARS-CoV-2 virus include the nucleocapsid phosphoprotein and the spike glycoprotein. These antigens are also responsible for triggering the immune response that forms antibodies and ultimately leads to our ability to fight infections. Pretty neat hey?

Antigen tests are thus used to detect these surface proteins and a positive COVID-19 antigen test indicates a person is most likely currently infected with the virus. These antigens disappear once the infection resolves.

These tests are especially beneficial for point-of-care use both in the community and remote settings as they provide rapid results and are also usually more affordable than other forms of testing.

Antibody Testing

Quick Facts:

  • Antibodies develop over time and are not immediately present in someone who was infected.

  • IgM Antibodies (Short term Antibodies) peak around two weeks after infection.

  • IgG Antibodies (Long term Antibodies) peak after roughly three weeks

  • Tests may be negative for antibodies if taken too soon after recovering from COVID-19.

Antibodies are formed in our bodies in response to antigen exposure. They usually develop over time and are not immediately present when a person is infected. The IgM antibody response peaks around two weeks after a COVID-19 infection while the IgG antibody peaks after three weeks.

This means that COVID-19 antibody testing, also known as serology testing, is usually used to detect if a person has already been exposed to the virus and might have some form of immunity against infection. Antibody testing is also very useful to track the spread of infection as it will indicate antibodies even in individuals who were asymptomatic.

It is important to bear in mind that an antibody test may be negative if taken too soon after infection or that it can be a false positive due to past infections with other coronaviruses.

We now offer PCR Rapid Testing!

We know times are tough right now, but with advancements in medical technology, there's a light at the end of the tunnel! Thank you for taking the time to read this article, we hope this information has helped you understand the variety of tests available. Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us and you will be connected with one of our qualified testing professionals.

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