We saw a sudden splurge in COVID-19 cases lately with thousands of people testing positive daily. Talking about the current scenario, the numbers have reduced but the risk of coronavirus is still very much present. Amidst all of this, there is news that cases haven’t been reduced but testing has. What is the truth behind this? Also, are all testing labs that are conducting COVID-19 tests secure and accurate? There are so many questions that are there in a common man’s mind. In this article, we have got all of them answered by Dr. Kanav Kahol, Founder of DIVOC Health. Scroll down to read all about covid testing.
What are some myths and facts related to covid testing labs that are doing the rounds?
With a splurge in Covid testing in the recent past, many myths have also risen associated with Covid testing. Some of the common myths and related facts are:
Myth: Every person should go and get himself tested for Covid?
Fact: No, it is not needed for every person to go and get tested for covid even if there are symptoms. The reason is that symptoms of flu and covid are somewhat similar and a person needs to consult an expert before going for a test. However, there is no need for a person to get tested if he or she gets a sore throat only as the testing capacity of labs around us is already limited.
Myth: COVID-19 antigen test is better than PCR (Polymerise Chain Reaction) testing
Fact: Both are viral tests and can be performed using a throat swab. Both of these tests are known for their rapidity, reasonable cost, and specificity. Unavailability of resources for PCR in some areas might be the reason for using antigen tests. The cons are most of the time, it gives false-negative results. So, In an ideal case, the negative person should get tested with RT-PCR.
Myth: The test result is always 100 percent accurate
Fact: No test could give you 100 percent accurate results for Covid or any other disease. As per a study conducted recently, almost 30 percent of the test results give inaccurate results.
How to choose a genuine testing lab that provides accurate results?
There are some points that can help a person choose a genuine testing lab that provides accurate results:
- The experience and qualification of the staff members of the diagnostic lab should be the priority when one is selecting a testing lab.
- A testing lab that has been well established for a particular period and possesses proficiency and competency in performing tests and help the patient in their future treatment management.
- It is advisable to select a testing lab that possesses accreditation from a recognised body such as ISO or NABL. Reports from such testing labs will definitely guarantee the quality as well as the accuracy of tests.
- The testing labs that are making use of the latest technologies should get an upper hand. The latest and updated technologies such as Digital Pathology, Nanosensors, Molecular Diagnostics, etc will contribute immensely to the accuracy of the tests conducted by the laboratory.
- Another point that needs to be considered is the cleanliness of the lab, external as well as internal premises.
- Fast turnaround times, the insurance coverage provided to the patients, customer-centricity of the staff would help you in understanding the policies of the chosen diagnostic lab.
Why do some people test negative despite being positive and vice-versa?
The RT PCR test basically works through the identification of the said RNA traces of the Covid virus with the help of a swab sample. This swab sample is taken from the patient's throat or nose. However, there may be instances when some people may test negative despite being positive and vice-versa. It may be because the swab sample is not taken properly or has been taken incorrectly. An incorrect swab sample can miss the imperative aspects of testing altogether and result in an incorrect test result. The duration from the time of collection and testing at the lab was not drained promptly. The staff conducting the tests at the labs are not trained enough might be the reason for the chances of error. If an infected person encompasses a low viral load at the time of sample collection Also, if the sample is not stored correctly or incorrectly transported, the RNA in the said virus can either get inactivated or can be untraceable which may result in some people testing negative despite being positive and vice-versa.
What precautionary measures do testing labs take to ensure 100% correct results?
- The accuracy of the Covid tests, or for that matter any test depends upon the specimen collection. Thus, testing laboratories pay utmost attention to the specimen collection to make sure that the testing results are 100 percent accurate.
- Before each sample collection, the testing lab makes detailed preparation for specimen collection.
- The testing lab offers proper collection instructions to the patient before the specimen collection, informing them well about the fasting, medication restrictions, and diet.
- Identification of the patient is imperative so that there is no mismatch of the specimens. Also, the labs apply proper labelling strategies at the time of the collection to maintain the integrity of the sample.
- Also, the testing labs make use of only quality testing material for collecting the samples and the latest technologies to get accurate results. Good quality material and upgraded technologies will ensure the high accuracy of the tests.
These were some of the major queries related to COVID-19. Many people do not know where to get tested and how they can get accurate results. Also, considering many myths are doing the rounds, it becomes difficult for a person to take a wise decision. Be aware of the latest developments and choose a testing lab wisely for safety and accuracy.
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