Black Labs COVID-19 testing process exceeds quality guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and emphasizes testing efficacy and accuracy over volume. Black Labs testing is completely mobile, so our testing truck will bring the test to you in South or Central Arizona areas and all specimens collected are transported and processed in our Arizona-based laboratory.
We offer 3 types of COVID-19 tests: rapid tests, antibody tests, and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. There are also 2 types of results: whether or not you have the active COVID-19 virus in your system and whether you have antibodies in your system, meaning your immune system has already come in contact with the virus but it isn’t currently active.
Knowing the difference between the tests and their results will help you determine which type of test is most appropriate for your situation. If you are experiencing symptoms then you will want to take a test that will show whether or not you have the virus in your system. If you are concerned about being asymptomatic but have no symptoms or wonder if you’ve already had the virus, then a test that looks for antibodies in your system may be most appropriate.
Rapid COVID-19 Testing
A rapid COVID-19 test has a faster turnaround time for results than the other two test types. This type of test looks for certain proteins in the virus. When you get a rapid test, a health professional will collect a sample from the back of your nose or throat using a swab and the results are often available the same day..
While results are fast, viral sensitivity is not as high as a PCR test, meaning false negatives are common among asymptomatic low viral load patients.
PCR COVID-19 Testing
A PCR COVID-19 test offers the most accurate results for detecting whether or not the virus is active in your system and is considered the gold standard by the CDC is viral diagnosis. However, it is important to note that the results can take longer than a rapid test. The procedure for a PCR test is similar to the rapid test in that a healthcare professional will swab your nose or throat for a sample. Some PCR tests now available may also take a sample of your saliva instead.
A PCR test is a molecular test that detects the virus by looking for genetic material specific to the virus in your body. This type of diagnostic test are sent to a lab and results may be done in one to two days.
Antibody COVID-19 Testing
An antibody COVID-19 test looks for antibodies of the virus in your body. When you have a virus, your immune system produces proteins to help fight the infection. The antibody test for COVID-19 looks for specific proteins, called antibodies, in your blood. If antibodies are found in your system then this means you have been infected with COVID-19 at some point in the past.
Antibodies may not develop right away, so if you think you have the virus then a diagnostic test will be more accurate. Instead, antibody testing is not recommended until 14 days after any potential symptoms, giving your immune system a chance to develop these proteins and fight the virus. The procedure for an antibody test is a finger prick or blood draw which is then sent to a lab for analysis and may take a few days to receive results.