Testing Locations

Need A Coronavirus Test? The Availability And Reliability Of COVID-19 Testing Options

The PCR Test

The PCR test, short for polymerase chain reaction — is a molecular test that looks for viral RNA, which is the coronavirus’ genome. The PCR test is the most common type of molecular test, making it “the gold standard” because of how sensitive it is at detecting COVID-19’s genetic material. Most PCR tests use a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab to collect a mucus specimen sample. When a PCR test comes back positive, it’s “very accurate,” however there is still a small subset of patients who have the virus and test negative. -Dr. Daniel Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The Antigen Test

The antigen test, "the rapid test," also comes in the form of a nasal swab. But for a rapid test, the swab needs to go deeper in the back of the nose than the PCR test in order to pick up as much of the virus as possible. “If you want to be as sensitive as possible, then you want to do a PCR test". “If you have somebody with symptoms and you're pretty sure they have COVID, then an antigen test is a reasonable approach.” Positive results from antigen tests are “usually highly accurate,” however antigen testing is “more likely to miss an active COVID-19 infection compared to molecular tests.” -Dr. Daniel Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The Spit Test

Spit tests use the PCR platform for COVID-19 testing. But it can be harder to find this option of testing because of supply chain issues and constraints of the laboratory. While spit tests are molecular tests, “the gold standard,” the accuracy of the spit test depends on how the saliva is collected. “But there is the potential that saliva testing could be as good as a nasal swab if it's collected the right way and tested the right way.” -Dr. Daniel Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

The Antibody Test

Antibody tests — a blood test — can determine whether a patient has been infected with the coronavirus at some point. In many cases, a patient is no longer showing symptoms of the disease, so antibody tests shouldn’t be used to diagnose a patient with active COVID-19. Antibody testing is important clinically and in vaccine studies in order to see one’s antibody response. -Dr. Daniel Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Zambia Covid Testing Centers

Click a selected blue location marker below to view the location;