Let's Discuss Covid Testing at ABC Pediatrics..
Some of the more recent discussions regarding COVID-19 are centering around TESTING. Rapid testing. Antigen testing. Antibody testing. Molecular testing. PCR testing.
Has your employer or your child’s school or daycare presented you with questions or guidelines concerning COVID testing that has you scratching your head?
It is our hope that the following will provide you some general knowledge and clarification regarding COVID TESTING as we continue to work together to manage and conquer this ongoing COVID CHAOS!
- Although originally meant to simply indicate that results would be available the same day as the test, RAPID TESTING can have different meanings in today’s discussions. In the past, RAPID TESTING generally referred to “antigen testing”. However, with today’s new technology, RAPID TESTING can also be used to describe MOLECULAR Testing.
- With “Antigen Testing”, a nasal sample is used to determine if specific COVID 19 PROTEINS found on the virus’ surface are present in your nasal secretions. If this test is POSITIVE, it is likely that you currently carry the virus. However, if this test is NEGATIVE, most experts recommend that this test is “FOLLOWED UP or CONFIRMED BY A MOLECULAR TEST”.
- “MOLECULAR TESTING” is a more definitive test which looks for specific parts of the viral genome from a swab of your nasal secretions. MOLECULAR TESTNG is readily available in two forms: NAAT and RT-PCR. NAAT stands for Nucleic Acid Amplification Technique and is the methodology employed in the Abbott testing platform. This test utilizes a nasal swab and takes approximately 15 minutes to get a result. RT-PCR stands for Real Time - Polymerase Chain Reaction and is the methodology employed in the Cepheid testing platform. This test utilizes a naso-pharyngeal swab and takes approximately 45 minutes to get a result. NAAT testing recommends a RT-PCR test to CONFIRM any negative result whereas RT-PCR is the “Gold Standard” test for COVID and does NOT require any confirmatory testing. In the early days of COVID testing, it would take several days to get results back from MOLECULAR TESTING. However, advances in technology have resulted in “RAPID MOLECULAR TESTING” that can provide results in as little as 15 minutes for NAAT testing and 45 minutes for RT-PCR testing. ABC Pediatrics EXCLUSIVELY utilizes RT-PCR testing (The “GOLD STANDARD”) to evaluate, diagnose, and counsel our patients regarding COVID infections, and this testing does NOT require that it be followed up or confirmed by an additional test.(There is a link to the FACT SHEET for the RT-PCR testing that is performed at ABC Pediatrics which gives more in-depth information on this test.)
- “SEROLOGY TESTING”, also referred to as ANTIBODY TESTING, is a test that utilizes a fingerstick blood sample to look for your body’s response to the COVID virus or the COVID vaccine. If you have been exposed to or diagnosed as having COVID, or received one of the COVID vaccines, your body should respond by making ANTIBODIES to the virus. Antibodies come in two types: IgM or immediate and IgG which is delayed. IgM antibodies usually develop 7 - 21 days after exposure to the COVID virus (or vaccine) and only last a few weeks. IgG antibodies tend to develop after 14 - 28 days and stay around in your body for a lengthy period (months to years) to help protect your body and fight off any future exposures to the COVID virus. At this time, we do NOT know how long these IgG antibodies will be around OR how long they will offer protection in the future. More studies will be performed in the months ahead to give us a clearer picture of these antibodies.ABC Pediatrics is able to perform the test for COVID antibodies in our office lab with results available in 15 - 25 minutes.
At ABC PEDIATRICS, we have the technology, equipment, and the capability to perform RAPID RT-PCR COVID testing, MOLECULAR FLU and RSV testing and COVID ANTIBODY testing on our patients with results available within 15 - 45 minutes of the collection of the nasal sample OR fingerstick blood sample.
Our In-House testing methodologies and results have been verified by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to be acceptable for testing in children who have been or are at risk of being excluded from school or daycare due to COVID exposure or illness.
If you are concerned that your child may have been exposed or may be infected with the COVID-19 virus (or FLU or RSV) and would like to have a RT-PCR TEST or Antibody test performed, please call our office at 910.892.1333 and schedule an appointment to be evaluated by one of our providers.