Viral testing is performed to detect SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid or antigen. A sample is taken from the respiratory system (a swab from your nose and/or throat) to identify if an active infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is present. Viral tests are recommended to diagnose acute infection. Some tests are point-of-care tests, meaning results may be available at the testing site in less than an hour. These are rapid tests that are not very accurate, and a repeat confirmatory test is often necessary. Other, more accurate tests with fewer false results, are sent to a laboratory to analyze. Turnaround time varies from 24 hours to several days depending on a performing lab. LabFlorida can process swab viral tests within 24 hours of the collection.
Antibody testing is performed to check if the patient has previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus. The test checks blood samples for presence special proteins (immunoglobulins M and G or IgM and IgG) that may provide immune response and help prevent new infections. Rapid test kits that use a drop of blood from a finger are broadly used now, but their accuracy raises more and more doubt. LabFlorida uses blood serum samples obtained from the intravenous blood draw (venipuncture) to run the testing on a sophisticated lab instrument that provides for a superior level of accuracy and reliability.