The race to develop better testing was on

At the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic commenced, the race to develop better testing was on. Testing resources were in demand, as well as labs to process them. The general public was nervous and demanded better access to tests. Many people also wanted to know if they had already had the virus – which entails a different sort of test, the antibody test. In this article we will tackle diagnostic testing.

The general public was nervous and demanded better access to tests.

Advantages to home testing

When people can test themselves at home, perhaps in conjunction with a telemedicine visit, it can help slow the spread of the disease by:

  • Minimizing clinic and hospital visits unless necessary
  • Reducing exposure of others at those places
  • Reducing exposure of healthcare personnel

Home Covid-19 diagnostic tests

At-home tests rolled out after the initial scramble to increase hospital testing, so not until around mid-May 2020. The FDA has authorized two types of Covid-19 tests for at-home sample collection – the swab test and the saliva test. The test kit must be mailed to a lab for processing.

  • The swab test involves using a special swab to take a sample from the nasal passages. It is important to follow instructions exactly in order to increase the accuracy of the test.
  • The saliva test involves spitting into a special vial and mixing that with the testing chemicals.

Most scientists do agree on one thing – the test is only as good as sample collection.

How accurate are these tests?

Well – it depends. If that sounds vague, That’s because it is! The testing has not undergone extensive studies, because it has not been around that long. Most scientists do agree on one thing – the test is only as good as sample collection. It is VERY important to closely follow the test instructions. It is also important to listen to your body, not necessarily a test. If you are very sick or feel symptoms worsening, don’t wait – seek treatment.

How long to get my results?

If you are mailing your test kit in, you can expect to wait several days, sometimes even a week. If you are dropping your kit off at a testing center, you may have results in 1-2 days. This can be a frustrating and anxiety-inducing time while you wait for results. If you suspect you have the virus, or know you have been exposed, it is important to quarantine. If your results are negative, that does NOT mean you will never test positive. Listen to your body, pay attention to your symptoms, and be cautious and protective of those around you.

When new testing is developed, if it passes initial approval by the FDA, it can be issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to get it out to the public as quickly as possible.

Rapid improvements

Even newer testing – some with a blood or saliva sample and a testing cartridge, like a pregnancy test – are in development. The future is bright for faster, more accurate testing. When new testing is developed, if it passes initial approval by the FDA, it can be issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to get it out to the public as quickly as possible.