COVID-19 is not getting better, but worse and it is affecting the entire world. In lieu of the cold weather, more people are contracting the virus. Therefore, many people who do not yet have it might be fearful of not knowing its true extent. While social distancing and quarantine are two obvious solutions, they are only temporary and so it is important to get tested so as to be sure of the next step.
In the case of molecular tests, the lab technicians seek to detect the genetic material of the virus in a specific sequence of one of the viral proteins. Thus, the PCR has the objective of choosing a “piece” of this sequence and multiplying it in the laboratory until the moment that its “visualization” is possible. This “visualization” is done through specific equipment that detects a light signal generated by each copy of the virus’s genetic material during the PCR. When this generated light exceeds a minimum value, the test is considered positive.
In the case of serological tests, the lab seeks to detect the presence of antibodies in the acute phase and in the convalescent phase of the disease (of the type IgM and IgG) present in the blood and that recognize only Covid-19 proteins. The test consists of leaving the serum in direct contact with these proteins for a while. Then, a second reagent antibody that recognizes IgM or IgG is added and will change the color of the virus indicating their presence. Depending on the intensity of the staining, the proportion of antibodies present is known.
If the person has antibodies does it mean that he is immune to Covid-19?
There are still no studies that prove or remove protective immunity. The knowledge that the health industry currently has is based on other coronaviruses where protection/immunity is estimated for periods longer than one year.
Can a person with antibodies transmit the virus?
It is unknown. IgM antibodies are generally associated with recent viral contact and IgG indicates the previous contact. However, the dynamics of these antibodies in Covid-19 is still controversial and depends on further studies. The recommendation is to isolate for 14 days after the onset of symptoms, regardless of the presence of antibodies or negative molecular tests. If symptoms persist, this isolation period should be reviewed.
Where do Covid-19 detection tests in the United States take place?
In the public network, serological or rapid tests are distributed to health centers. The private network also has rapid, molecular tests and offers detection of antibodies through the Elisa and Clia tests. Primex Labs is part of the testing solution; proving various tests to individuals who show signs of COVID-19 or those who just want to test to be sure.
Is there follow-up on which are carried out by the private network?
This monitoring is a monumental task. However, public and private laboratories and clinics undergo internal and external audit processes, accreditations, and certifications both nationally and internationally, which constantly observe current practices and documentation on all procedures and examinations performed. These processes assist regulatory bodies and allow greater control of all members of the health system or lab.