Antigen tests, like the name suggests, test for antigens. An COVID-19 Antigen test basically looks for fragments of COVID-19 antigens within a person’s body to see if they’re infected with the virus.
“An antigen is a substance recognized by the body’s immune system, which can [then] respond by generating proteins called antibodies that specifically recognize that antigen,” Albert Shaw, MD, a Yale Medicine infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine
That basically means, “the point of an antigen test is to detect the presence of a protein—the nucleocapsid protein—which is part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is the cause of COVID-19.” [Dr Shaw].
The way a COVID-19 Antigen test works is similar to a PCR COVID-19 test. We will have a nurse open a new Antigen Test packet. We will then use a new nasal saw to collect a nasal cavity swab. Our nurses are very gentle and whilst the test will be over quickly, we will do our best to make you feel calm and safe during the entire process.
This swab will “then be placed into a special solution for virus detection,” says Dr. Shaw.
You will then wait 20 minutes while your test ‘loads’ your results. After which we will share your result with you.
Antibody tests, like the name suggests, test for antibodies not viruses; so our COVID-19 Antibody tests don’t look for the presence of the coronavirus. Instead, they find the proteins, or antibodies, that our bodies’ immune systems makes in response to COVID-19.
Our COVID-19 Antibody tests look for two kinds of antibodies that our immune system produces in response to the coronavirus:
1. IgM antibodies
These are short-lived antibodies that our body makes when we are fighting off the COVID-19 infection. These antibodies normally appear from 7 day into fighting off the virus. If you test positive for this antibody, it means that you are a new COVID-19 infection, and you are contagious for the virus.
These antibodies only stay in your body for a short time and usually disappear a few weeks after your infection. That is why we can use this antibody to pick up if you may be infected with COVID-19. But that is also why it is recommended that should we pick up the IgM antibody, you should also use a PCR COVID (infection) test to confirm your infection.
2. IgG antibodies
The presence of IgG antibodies on your test can tell you if your immune system has ever had to fight off COVID-19. These antibodies usually appear in your blood 2 weeks after you recover from the virus.
IgG antibodies stay in your body a long time (sometimes for a lifetime) and help give you immunity against catching the virus again. If you test positive for these antibodies, not only will you know for certain that you had the virus, but you will also know that you have some protection against catching the virus again.
We have a nurse clean your finger with an alcohol swab. We then use a new lancet to make a small prick in your finger. A pipit will be used to draw a small sample of your blood. This sample will then be placed into the circular sample deposit site of the Orient Gene COVID19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette.
Our nurses are very gentle and whilst the test will be over quickly, we will do our best to make you feel calm and safe during the entire process.
You will then wait 10 minutes while your test ‘loads’ your results. After which we will share your result with you.