Early diagnosis is crucial with any viral infection, but it’s especially essential for COVID-19. The results aren’t only used to treat patients, but also to monitor the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and protect people who may be vulnerable. At TOPLAB® in New Jersey, we offer quick, reliable COVID-19 testing in three different types: nasal swabs, oral swabs, and antibody tests. Here, we’ll take a closer look at each.
When it comes to diagnosing COVID-19, swab tests are the most effective option. These involve collecting fluid samples from mucus membranes in your nose and mouth. The fluid is then tested for the virus’ genetic material or specific proteins associated with the specific virus.
Sneezing and coughing are a mechanism the body uses to get rid of foreign particles. When you cough, your mucus membranes produce fluid and phlegm to expel anything harmful from your body. Most of the fluid is sprayed into the air, your elbow, or a tissue by the force of your cough. Some of it, however, remains in your mouth and at the back of your nasal cavity. By sampling and testing this fluid, doctors can conclusively confirm whether you have been infected with a respiratory virus, like COVID-19.
Nasal or Oral?
Though all swab tests operate on similar principles, they are divided into two distinct types based on where the sampled liquid comes from. The two types are as follows:
You’re probably most familiar with the deep nasal swab for COVID-19 testing. By inserting a long cotton swab into the nasal passage, doctors can collect fluid from the back areas where any caught particles tend to linger longer. This test is reliable but very uncomfortable. It’s also difficult to perform correctly, so it requires an expert phlebotomist to administer properly.
A more comfortable alternative is an oral swab. You’ll be asked to cough three times before collecting a saliva sample with a swab or by spitting into a reusable collection cup or container. It’s very easy to administer, so it doesn’t require an expert; individuals can do it by themselves without aid. It’s also nearly as accurate as a nasal swab.
There’s also the antibody test, or blood test. When your body is threatened by an infection, your immune system begins to develop and generate antibodies to fight it. These tiny particles act as homing beacons, helping white blood cells track down virus particles to destroy.
Every antibody is designed to track down a specific virus. Your immune system will take several days or even weeks to develop antibodies to a brand-new threat, and they can stay in your body for several weeks or more after recovery. This means that antibody tests can’t diagnose an active infection. They are, however, very useful for indicating whether you’ve been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the past. This makes them invaluable for monitoring the virus’ spread.
Reliable Testing at TOPLAB®
Based in New Jersey, TOPLAB® is one of the top COVID-19 testing facilities nationwide. We are a full-service laboratory equipped with the very latest in testing technology, so we can guarantee fast, reliable results for all our clients. We also provide an easy-to-use, secure portal for viewing and managing test inquiries online. If you’re looking for fast COVID-19 testing for your workplace or practice, or if you just want to learn more about the tests we offer, contact us today at 877-355-3580.