COVID-19 Testing: PCR (Diagnostic) vs Antibody
COVID-19 Testing: PCR (Diagnostic) vs Antibody
The advice from the World Health Organisation in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic has been simple; Test. Test. Test.
But what are the different types of COVID-19 tests and what are they used for?
Diagnostic (PCR) Testing
This type of testing detects SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) within the body and will tell you if you currently have COVID-19. PCR tests cannot tell you if you have had past infection.
Sample collection for a PCR test can vary, though it is usually in the form of a swab, which will gather an individual’s nasopharyngeal (nose and throat) secretions.
PCR tests for COVID-19 all use methods that detect a specific part of the viral genome – for example Viral RNA or Antigen.
A sample is prepared by extracting the chosen section of the genome, and then PCR (Polyamerase Chain Reaction) techniques are used to amplify (replicate) the genome section, ready for detection.
Viral RNA Tests
This type of test detects the RNA (Ribonucleic acid) contained within the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
It is this type of test, for RNA, that is recommended by The World Health Organisation for COVID-19 diagnosis.
Antigens are molecular structures on the surface of viruses that are recognized by the immune system and are capable of triggering an immune response.
Antigen tests detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by looking for the antigen on the surface of the virus.
Randox COVID-19 Test
The Randox COVID-19 test, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, detects the RNA contained within the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
After sample extraction and amplification, the virus is detected on our patented Randox Biochip Technology platform.
The Randox Biochip, which can run multiple tests simultaneously, performs two tests for COVID-19 – one specific and one confirmatory – as recommended by the WHO. This delivers extra assurance of the correct diagnosis and avoids the need to repeat the test.
Antibody (Serology) Tests
Antibody (also known as serology) tests, are usually performed on a patient blood sample, and look for antibodies (a type of protein) that may have been developed by the patient’s immune system to fight off disease.
If present, antibodies may provide a degree of immunity for the patient against COVID-19 in the future.
However, there is still much unknown about the body’s antibody response to COVID-19, including;
- Whether all patients who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 will generate antibodies (recent studies and news reports indicate that this isn’t the case. Click here for an example.)
- Whether those who have had more severe symptoms as a result of COVID-19 will produce more antibodies than those who had mild symptoms, or were asymptomatic.
- If antibodies from other coronaviruses previously experienced by the patient may be enough to fight off the virus, therefore eliminating the need for COVID-19 specific antibodies.
- How long any COVID-19 specific antibody response will last for.
- How much future immunity is provided by COVID-19 antibodies. Will it prevent the patient from being infected, or will future infection just be less severe?
If antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus are present this can give an indication that the patient has been previously infected with COVID-19. Antibody tests do not confirm the real-time presence of the virus in your system.
For example, a negative antibody result does not necessarily mean the body has not been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It could in fact, be currently infected, but has not yet generated antibodies. A diagnostic test will confirm current presence of the virus.
Therefore, it is recommended that antibody tests are used in tandem with a diagnostic test to determine a complete overview of the patient’s COVID-19 status.
Randox Health currently offers both diagnostic testing and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
A combination of diagnostic and antibody testing is available for individual purchase, or as part of our ‘Back to Business’ COVID-19 testing service, for staff screening.
Visit Randox Health to find out more.
Want to know more about Randox?
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Our Randox Products and Services
Randox Biosciences is a world-leading primary manufacturer of high quality monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, antibody fragments and human recombinant proteins. Our team of scientists possess unrivalled expertise which enables us to provide you with a comprehensive suite of products and services dedicated to advancing biopharmaceutical research and diagnostics.
Randox Biosciences offers an extensive portfolio of over 900 products for a multitude of R&D applications including more than 500 monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies and over 140 human recombinant proteins as well as antibody fragments, buffers & diluents and plasma.
- Biochemical markers: Biochemical messengers, fatty acid binding proteins and products with applications in the following therapeutic areas; cardiovascular/cerebrovascular and metabolic/Nutrition
- Drugs of abuse: Alcohol, anti-depressants, barbituates, hallucinogens, opiates, stimulants
- Drug Residues: antimicrobial drugs, growth promoters, mycotoxins
- Biochemical markers: Biochemical messengers, fatty acid binding proteins and products with applications in the following therapeutic areas; Immunology, Oncology, Cardiovascular/Cerebrovascular and Metabolic/Nutrition
- Drugs of abuse: Alcohol, Analgesics, Anti‑depressants, Barbituates, Benzodiazepines, Hallucinogens, Opiates, Sedatives, Stimulants, Synthetic Drugs, Therapeutic drugs
- Drug Residues: Anti-inflammatory Drugs, Antimicrobial Drugs, Anti-Parasitic Drugs, Growth Promoters, Mycotoxins
Recombinant Antibody Fragments
- Single chain variable fragment (scFvs)
- Single domain antibodies (sdAbs)
Frozen Human Plasma
- Available in three formats (Male, Female and Mixed Gender)
- Highly screened for; HIV, Hepatitis B+C, HTLV I + II, Syphilis, CMV and Procleix WNV
Human Recombinant Proteins (E.Coli & Mammalian)
- Adhesion Molecules
- Tumour markers
Buffers & Diluents
- Complementary range available
Key Features & Benefits
- All products manufactured at our ISO 13485 accredited UK manufacturing plant
- Product range of over 900 products
- 30 years’ experience in raw material manufacture and assay development
- Many unique and novel products including designer drugs, Mycotoxins and oncology markers
- As our host animals are sheep, our antibodies have higher sensitivity and specificity
- Excellent reproducibility between lot numbers
- Products reflect the components used in-house in the production of Randox diagnostic products and research programs
- Highly experienced in developing difficult targets (i.e. small molecules and novel biomarkers)
- Full customisation service available
- A range of pack sizes available including bulk quantities for commercial development
- Products can be used in a multitude
Custom Development Services
To meet your precise requirements, Randox Biosciences offer customised antibody generation services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Our custom development service, which encompasses antibodies and human recombinant proteins has achieved tremendous success within the biopharmaceutical and diagnostic industries. Key components of our custom service are our range of monoclonal antibodies as well as our recombinant antibody fragments (sdAbs, scFvs, fAbs).
Our customisation service has proven incredibly successful in the research and development industries allowing access our expertise to obtain the antibody and protein most relevant to your line of work. With over 300 highly trained research scientists and over 30 years’ experience in commercial assay development, Randox Biosciences can also provide a tailor-made assay development service to meet your specifications in both a timely and cost-effective manner.
For more information contact: info@Randoxbiosciences.com