What is the Difference Between COVID-19 Swab Testing & Antibody Testing?

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing and the state of Colorado requiring masks on anyover over the age of 11 outdoors or in public areas, patients may want to know what their status is: whether or not they have or have been exposed to COVID-19 in recent weeks or months. AFC Urgent Care Lakewood offers two types of test to diagnose a case of the active virus and to detect past infection. Knowing the difference between the two tests can help you determine which will provide you with necessary answers and information.

Diagnostic Swab Testing

Diagnostic testing, or PCR testing, is performed by using a swab to take a sample from your lower nasal cavity. The swab is then taken to a lab and analyzed, where a technician will be able to tell if you have an active case of the novel coronavirus. Swab testing can only be used to diagnose the active virus and will not be able to detect past infection. Results are available within 1-3 days depending on patient volume as well as the capacity of the lab. Swab testing can be performed on symptomatic patients exhibiting signs of COVID-19.

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing is used to detect a past infection with coronavirus. A blood sample is taken for the test, which takes about ten minutes. The blood sample is brought to the lab and tested for the presence of antibodies, an immune response formed after an infection has healed. Because antibodies take about ten to fourteen days to form, patients who are seeking information about their status should wait at least fourteen days after their previous positive COVID-19 swab test or their symptoms have dissipated. Patients who are tested for COVID-19 antibodies must be asymptomatic. It is also important to note that a patient could have a negative antibody test, indicating no exposure to COVID-19, but still have the active virus. A patient with the active virus will not have produced antibodies yet, leading to a negative result.  

What test is best for my current health needs?

Knowing which test is best for your current needs will help your health. If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 in the last fourteen days, a swab test will be able to determine if you have been infected with COVID-19 and have the active virus. If you have previously exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 before testing was widely available, an antibody test will be able to tell if you have been exposed to or have fought off the infection, even if you have been asymptomatic the whole time.

COVID-19 Swab & Antibody Testing in Lakewood, Littleton & Golden, CO

If you are interested in getting tested for COVID-19, visit AFC Urgent Care Lakewood today. Our center is open seven days a week and offers convenient hours. You can easily reserve your spot in line to reduce your wait time. For questions, please call (303) 988-3600.