On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization got aware of for the first time the existence of pneumonia of unknown origin and quickly spread in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. Now known to all as Coronavirus (COVID-19), a disease that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome type 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
At first, it was thought that the epidemic outbreak could be controlled locally; however, on March 11, 2020, given the rapid spread of the disease internationally, the WHO decreed a state of a pandemic.
This started a race against time to develop tests, treatments, and vaccines to increase rapid detection and decrease the spread of the virus. Although antiviral testing laboratory tests are part of the timely detection of conditions or diseases, they currently help in the timely diagnosis of COVID-19 and reduce the possibility of the disease spreading.
But what kind of tests are there? When to do them? Where can you do it (state public and private health laboratories)? What are your costs in private laboratories? Do home services have an additional cost? In this article, we will try to clarify these and all other doubts.
The importance of testing
It is simple; antiviral testing laboratory tests allow doctors to know if someone is infected with a virus or has a disease.
Currently, the importance of detecting COVID-19 lies in the need to know if you are infected or not so that you can access medical attention and take the necessary precautions. If a person does not know that they are infected, they may not stay home or carry out the essential isolation hygiene, putting other people, especially their family, at risk.
But when should a laboratory test be performed?
When you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, tiredness, or shortness of breath.
You have no symptoms, but you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is suppose to be infected by the virus. A screening test is recommended 5 to 7 days after contact. You have participated in activities that increase your risk of contagions, such as trips, meetings with many people, or indoor places where there are many people.
Your doctor or other health professional or a public health institution recommends testing.
Types of evidence
All people who have symptoms should undergo a molecular test to detect SARS-CoV-2 and confirm the infection, or a rapid antigen test that the WHO indicates them faster. However, they are faster as less precise. People who are asymptomatic but have been in close contact with someone who is or may be infected may also consider having a test following the sanitary measures and the respective indications.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supported these tests to determine contamination to have SARS-CoV-2, the infection that causes coronavirus (COVID 19).
Unlike the previous ones, the antibody test serves to detect if a person has been infected by the virus and has developed defenses and if the infection is still active or not. The presence of immunoglobulins (which tend to appear between 7 and 10 days after the contact has been made with the virus) and IgG (which tends to occur between 10 and 15 days later) are dissected. A positive IgM indicates an active infection, while a positive means that the infection is overcome. Although it is not used as a definitive diagnosis, it is helpful to know if you have been in contact with the virus or see the disease’s evolution in a confirmed case.
According to the Secretary of Health, the SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection tests are helpful to detect specific molecules of the virus, which are present when there is an active infection that is when the person is ill at that time. These tests can be performed directly at the point of care of sick people, such as in the antiviral testing laboratory, medical offices, health centers, care kiosks, among others. These tests are helpful in communities with difficult access to a laboratory and are recommended by the World Health Organization to complement epidemiological surveillance strategies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus epidemic.
The positive result of an antigen test can be used to confirm COVID-19 in people who meet the requirements described above and does not replace the usefulness and use of molecular tests (RT-PCR).
According to the Mayo Clinic, a negative test result does not rule out the possibility of having COVID 19. So the find-out process may include more steps, depending on symptoms, possible exposures to viruses, and your doctor’s clinical analysis.
Who can take the test?
The Institute for Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (Indre), to increase the diagnostic coverage homogeneously in the country in the contingency produced by the current pandemic, has developed an evaluation process for the diagnosis in an antiviral testing laboratory outside the network of Public Health laboratories in the country.
Similarly, you can find:
- List of functional molecular tests by RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2.
- List of available molecular tests by Multiplexed RT-PCR for FLU-SARS-CoV-2.
- List of antigen tests, useful for SARS-CoV-2 at Points of Attention.
Conclusion: Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference issued in December 2020 the list of recognized laboratories to perform the diagnosis of COVID 19. The list includes state public health laboratories, laboratories that support epidemiological surveillance, laboratories in charge of the epidemiological surveillance and investigation laboratories division IMSS, private laboratories, academy laboratories, and public hospitals.