COVID-19 tests are critical to measuring the spread of the disease and determining how to handle the pandemic. The two prevailing COVID-19 test types – serology tests and viral tests – serve different purposes and have different limitations. Knowing the following facts about these tests will help you decide which test is tailor-fit to your needs.
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The global fight against COVID-19 is getting a boost from improvements in the diagnostic testing field, with several tests designed to diagnose patients who currently have active viral infections. Diagnostics that can detect active infections are typically molecular-based, which help researchers detect the presence of the pathogen, through the identification of its genetic material or the unique markers of the pathogen itself. According to John Hopkins Center for Health Security, the viral genomic material for SARS-CoV-2 is ribonucleic acid (RNA), which remains in the body only while the virus is still replicating. In contrast, other tests identify COVID-19 mid-infection as the virus multiplies (antigen test), while another type -- the serology test -- identifies IgG antibodies, proteins produced by the body in late stages of infection.
While these tests serve specific needs that differ from organization to organization, molecular testing for COVID-19 is currently the gold standard in terms of reliability and detection. It has been valuable in determining who has the active infection and how to help stop the virus from spreading -- key information that will help the country's fight against the virus.
As one of the pioneering laboratories offering molecular diagnostics in the Philippines for 16 years, we at BioPATH believe that this is not something you learn overnight, or in the course of a few months. We have spent years upon years developing our lab team's expertise, in order to serve our customers best.
For random access and near-patient care testing with rapid turnaround time results, BioPATH Clinical Diagnostics uses the GeneXpert. Results are available within 6 hours of receiving a sample. Due to the limited supply of Xpert cartridges, we provide the GeneXpert test on a priority basis and only for patients who need it most, per doctor’s request.
Cepheid has developed an automated molecular test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test leverages the design principles of our current Xpert Xpress Flu/RSV cartridge technology, in which multiple regions of the viral genome are targeted. The test can provide rapid detection of the current coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in as soon as 30 minutes for positive results^ with less than a minute of hands-on time to prepare the sample.
For traditional testing, our laboratory is equipped with fully automated Perkin Elmer Pre-NAT extraction and Thermo Fisher Quant Studio-5 real-time machines capable of doing no less than 1,000 tests per day. Results are released within 24-48 hours of receiving a patient’s sample swab.
The PerkinElmer® SARS-CoV-2 Real-time RT-PCR assay is CE-IVD marked and intended for in vitro diagnostic use. This assay provides reliable and high-quality results for the clinical detection of COVID-19 in human oropharyngeal swab, nasopharyngeal swab, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), sputum, plasma or serum samples.