COVID-19 Testing Types: The Basics

March 10, 2021

Over the last year we have all heard so much about COVID-19 testing. With so much information to consider, it is easy to get confused. At Medac, we want to help make things a little easier. Below, we have listed a few of the common terms and testing types that we have all been hearing, and simplified them from the FDA’s website.

Term: Diagnostic testing
Meaning: testing used to show if you have an active COVID-19 infection – this can be molecular (AKA PCR), or Antigen based
How it could be performed: nasal swab, nasalpharyngeal swab, throat swab, saliva sample

Term: Nasalpharyngeal swab
Meaning: swab through the nose that reaches the part of the throat behind the nose

Term: Molecular tests
Meaning: tests that looks for the virus’s genetic material – this is often used interchangeably with “PCR tests”
How it could be performed: nasal swab, nasalpharyngeal swab, throat swab, saliva sample

Term: PCR test
Meaning: tests that looks for the virus’s genetic material – this is often used interchangeably with “molecular tests”
How it could be performed: nasal swab, nasalpharyngeal swab, throat swab, saliva sample

Term: Antigen test
Meaning: a test that looks for certain proteins that are associated with the virus
How it could be performed: nasal swab or nasalpharyngeal swab

Term: Antibody test
Meaning: test that looks for the specific antibodies your immune system would have made in response to a specific illness (COVID-19, in this case)
How it could be performed: finger stick or blood draw

For more information on any of these please visit https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/coronavirus-disease-2019-testing-basics.

In the meantime, if you need care, our urgent cares are here to help! Our urgent care centers are open every day of the week 8:00 am to 8:00 pm- No appointment necessary! Our centers offer flu shots, flu tests, and COVID19 tests. To be seen by a provider, simply walk in, or save your spot online by clicking here. For information on time-saving E-registration click here. We look forward to helping you Get Better. Faster!