Believing in COVID-related myths when the world is combating a pandemic of such a horrendous scale can be a grave mistake. And, that too when the myths are about the testing measures to detect the infection! The entire world is racing to ramp up the testing procedures to deliver foolproof results. Governments that faltered initially have realized the importance of COVID19 testing.
Early testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has one prime objective to detect the virus at its very early stages and give the best possible medical care without any delay. Early testing plays a life-saving role in helping curb the virus from spreading further and causing untold health havoc.
Despite two pandemic waves and the loss of millions of lives worldwide, several myths are obscuring the truth about the importance of COVID19 testing. The general public harbour many misconceptions and doubts. Many of them are yet to find answers to questions like:
- What do the tests results mean?
- How and where to get COVID 19 tests done?
- Are they safe?
- What are the implications of the tests?
- What are the limitations?
- Why do doctors recommend getting tested immediately?
In our blog, we analyse eight of the most common misconceptions about COVID19 testing for your benefit. But to understand the truth better, we need to first look at the various COVID19 tests available today.
Life-Saving COVID19 Tests You Should Know About
COVID19 testing methods are broadly classified into two types:
- Antibody testing
- Diagnostic testing - Includes molecular or RT-PCR tests and antigen tests.
Health and lab experts worldwide rely on these methods to trace the COVID19 infection quickly and efficiently. Let's explore the details of these tests.
- Antibody tests for COVID19
The antibody tests are known by various terms like Serology test, Serology blood test, and Serological tests. The objective of the test is not to detect viral presence in the body but rather to detect antibodies created in response to a viral threat by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- Molecular COVID19 tests
The RT-PCR or Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction test is also known as the RNA or nucleic acid test. Currently, it is one of the most widely preferred tests because of its accuracy in identifying COVID19 infection.
- COVID19 Antigen test
An antigen test detects specific proteins from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To identify the protein, lab experts use samples like nasal and throat swabs taken from the patient. The antigen test is incredibly fast, as it takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes to get the results.
The fear and uncertainty caused by certain myths actually discourage people from understanding the truth and the benefits of early COVID19 testing. These are some common myths that could lead you or your family to overlook the truth about COVID testing. We list them below.
What You Should & Should Not Believe About COVID19 Testing
Myth 1: An antibody test will confirm the presence of Coronavirus in your body now.
Fact: No. An antibody test will only confirm the presence of antibodies generated by your immune system if you have already been exposed to the virus. If your test result is positive, it means that your body has developed antibodies. A negative result reveals that your immune system is yet to produce antibodies.
To ensure accurate results, we recommend taking the antibody test a few weeks after recovery. This will give enough time for your body to generate antibodies.
Myth 2: If your antibody test is positive, it means you are immune to the COVID19 infection.
Fact: Again, no. The antibody test result is only proof that your body was exposed to the viral infection. However, there is no assurance that you will not be re-infected. We are in the very early stages of research concerning the Novel Coronavirus, its impact, and how our body reacts to the infection. We have a long way to go before we can conclude how long antibodies provide immunity. There have been reports of reinfection from all over the world. For now, the only safety is to follow the preventive measures of wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing.
Myth 3: Everyone should take the COVID19 test.
Fact: Not necessary. Tests are compulsory for those who've been in close contact with infected patients. If you've been within 6 feet from the infected person for at least fifteen minutes or more over 24 hours, you need to get yourself tested. Likewise, people exhibiting symptoms like fever, cough, cold, shortness of breath, and bluish lips must take the test without any delay.
Myth 4: You cannot take a COVID test without a doctor's prescription.
Fact: Not at all. You can get yourself tested even if you suspect that you are infected. Most diagnostic centres in Chennai offer the convenience of taking the test at home to enable early treatment if your results are positive. By doing so, you can curb the viral spread and safeguard your family members from falling sick.
Myth 5: Increased testing is causing a surge in COVID19 cases.
Fact: Absolutely false. The spike in cases has no relation to increased testing. On the contrary, testing plays a massive role in assessing the rate and location of the COVID infection. It is used as a critical guide to help health workers decide whether to carry on with their service or self-isolate. Additionally, testing allows health departments to make recommendations about viruses control.
Myth 6: Antigen tests are unreliable and inaccurate.
Fact: Not true. Antigen tests performed within five days of being exposed to the virus is too early to detect enough protein samples in the antigen test. Thus, the results are falsely negative. That's why antibody tests are more accurate when used after the first week of symptoms. This is likely because people have the most viral load in their system the first few days after they become infected.
Myth 7: RT-PCR tests cannot detect mutant COVID19 strains.
Fact: Absolutely not. RT-PCR is the golden standard for COVID19 testing. Despite the emergence of new mutant Coronavirus strains, the sensitivity and specificity of the text remain unaltered. RT-PCR testing is highly reliable for its accuracy in detecting new mutant strains.
Myth 8: Testing will soon become unnecessary as vaccination rates are increasing.
Fact: The truth about COVID19 vaccines is that they can only prevent the symptoms. But cannot provide 100% protection against the virus. People who have even received both vaccine doses are still vulnerable to the infection and be asymptomatic carriers. Since the viral load for vaccinated people will be below, the results will likely be false negatives.
The most important thing with COVID19 testing is this: Do not harbour misconceptions and doubts. Seek medical help as soon as you detect any signs and symptoms of COVID19 infection in your body. Early testing makes a big difference in getting the right treatment and recovering soon without major health setbacks.
Rely on Anderson Diagnostics: The best diagnostic centre in Chennai
Misinformation at a grave time like this can be deadly and put more lives at risk. It is always better to seek expert advice rather than believing in such myths. Anderson Diagnostics serves as one of the best diagnostic centres in Chennai. We are also one of the leading centres for COVID19 testing. Therefore, please feel free to reach out to our experts for the correct guidance about COVID19 testing.
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