COVID-19 Testing: PCR (Diagnostic) vs Antibody

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COVID-19 Testing: PCR (Diagnostic) vs Antibody

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18 June 2020

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.

Antigen Tests

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?

Contact us or visit our homepage to view more.

Our Randox Products and Services

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ACUSERA

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Randox QC unveils brand new multi-analyte commutable Acusera Infectious Disease Controls

Randox Quality Control is set to introduce its brand new Acusera Infectious Disease (Serology) Controls at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry 2019, designed to deliver a cost-effective, high quality solution for the analysis of infectious diseases whilst producing trustworthy results.

The Infectious Disease Serology Internal Quality Controls will include quality control material for Lyme Disease, ToRCH, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, Hepatitis A virus, Human T-lymphotropic virus, Cytomegalovirus, and Varicella zoster virus (Chickenpox or Shingles).

Manufactured from human plasma, each control is designed to react to the test system in the same manner as the patient sample, helping to meet ISO 15189:2012 requirements while also reducing inconvenient shifts in QC results when reagent batches are changed.

Lynsey Adams, Randox Quality Control Manager, commented;

“These controls are the first of their kind on the market to be used on a wide range of immunoassay analysers. Unlike the current practice of analyser-specific tests, these controls can be used across a wide range of laboratory technologies and, with a working stability of 60 days at 2°c to 8°c, waste and costs are kept to a minimum.”

Acusera Infectious Disease (Serology) Controls are also multi-analyte and therefore, testing can be consolidated to just a small number of vials, saving laboratories valuable space and time. A single control can be used to assess performance across a range of analytes.

Key benefits of the Acusera Infectious Disease Controls;

  • All samples are provided in a user-friendly, liquid, ready-to-use format
  • Manufactured from human plasma, each control reacts to the test system in the same manner as a patient sample
  • Designed to deliver an independent, unbiased assessment of performance with any immunoassay instrument
  • Working stability of 60 days ensures waste and costs are kept to a minimum
  • Multi-marker controls help reduce the number of individual controls required
  • Designed to challenge clinically-relevant levels, samples will ensure accurate and reliable instrument performance

Ideal for microbiology and virology laboratories, blood banks, public health laboratories or clinical laboratories performing serology testing, Randox QC’s Acusera Infectious Disease (Serology) Controls are set to revolutionise serology testing and provide reliable, accurate results time and time again.

For further information please email acusera@randox.com, visit www.randoxqc.com or tel: +44 (0) 28 9442 2413 / fax: +44 (0) 28 9445 2912

 

 


RIQAS Parameters List

RIQAS is the largest international External Quality Assessment (EQA)/ Proficiency Testing (PT) scheme, there are currently more than 45,000 participants in 133 countries. World renowned for reducing the number of individual programmes required by even the most demanding laboratories, RIQAS covers 360 parameters across 32 flexible multi-parameter programmes.  Effective consolidation in this way will not only deliver real cost savings but free up storage space and ultimately reduce the time spent preparing multiple samples at each survey.

RIQAS Parameter List

#

1-25-(OH)₂-Vitamin D
17-OH-Progesterone
25-OH-Vitamin D
5-HIAA

A

α-1-Acid Glycoprotein
α-1-Antitryspin
α-I-Globulin (Electrophoresis)
α-2-Globulin (Electrophoresis)
α-2-Macroglobulin
ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme)
Acid Phosphatase (Prostatic)
Acid Phosphatase (Total)
ACR
ACTH
AFP
Albumin
Albumin (Electrophoresis)
Aldosterone
Alkaline Phosphatase
ALT (ALAT)
Aluminium
Amikacin
Ammonia
Amylase (Pancreatic)
Amylase (Total)
Androstenedione
Anti Streptolysin O (ASO)
Anti-CMV
Anti-CMV IgG

Anti-CMV IgM
Anti-EBNA IgG
Anti-EBV VCA IgG
Anti-EBV VCA IgM
Anti-HBc
Anti-HCV
Anti-HIV-1
Anti-HIV-1 & 2 Combined
Anti-HIV-2
Anti-HSV- 1 & 2 IgG Combined
Anti-HSV- 1 & 2 IgM Combined
Anti-HSV1 IgG
Anti-HSV1 IgM
Anti-HSV2 IgG
Anti-HSV2 IgM
Anti-HTLV-1 & 2 Combined
Anti-HTLV-I
Anti-HTLV-II
Anti-Rubella IgG
Anti-Rubella IgM
Anti-TG
Antithrombin III
Anti-Toxoplasma IgG
Anti-Toxoplasma IgM
Anti-TPO
Anti-TSH Receptor (TRAb)
Apolipoprotein AI
Apolipoprotein B
aPTT
AST (ASAT)

B

β-2-Microglobulin
β-Globulin (Electrophoresis)
Benzoylecgonine
Bicarbonate
Bile Acids
Bilirubin (Direct)
Bilirubin (Total)
Blood
BNP
Buprenorphine

C

CA15-3
CA19-9
CA125
Cadmium
Caffeine
Calcitonin
Calcium
Calcium (Ionised)
Cannabinoids (THC)
Carbamazepine
CEA
Ceruloplasmin
Chloride
Cholesterol (Total)
Cholinesterase
Chromium
CK, Total
CK-MB (Activity)
CK-MB (Mass)

Cobalt
Complement C₃
Complement C₄
Conductivity
Copper
Cortisol
Cotinine
C-Peptide
C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
Creatinine
Cyclosporine
CYFRA 21-1 (Cytokeratin 19)

D

D-3-Hydroxybutyrate
d-Amphetamine
D-Dimer
DHEA Unconjugated
DHEA-Sulphate
Digoxin
d-Methamphetamine
Dopamine

E

EDDP
Epinephrine
ESR
Estriol Total
Ethanol
Ethosuximide
Everolimus

F

Factor II
Factor IX
Factor V
Factor VII
Factor VIII
Factor X
Factor XI
Factor XII
Ferritin
Fibrinogen
Folate
Free Morphine
free β-hCG
Fructosamine
FSH

G

γ-GT
γ-Globulin (Electrophoresis)
Galactose
Gastrin
Gentamicin
Growth Hormone (GH)
GLDH
Glucose

H

Haematocrit (HCT)
Haemoglobin (Hb)
Haptoglobin
HbA1c
HBsAG
HBDH
hCG

HDL-Cholesterol
Homocysteine
hsCRP

I

IgA
IgE
IGF-1
IgG
IgM
Inhibin A
Insulin
Iodine
Iron

K

Kappa Light Chain (Free)
Kappa Light Chain (Total)
Ketones

L

Lactate
Lambda Light Chain (Free)
Lambda Light Chain (Total)
LD (LDH)
LDL-Cholesterol
Lead
Leukocytes
Leutinising Hormone (LH)
Lipase
Lipoprotein (a)
Lithium
Lorazepam
LSD

M

Magnesium
Manganese
MDMA
Mean Cell Haemoglobin (MCH)
Mean Cell Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC)
Mean Cell Volume (MCV)
Mean Platelet Volume (MPV)
Metanephrine
Methadone
Methotrexate
Molybdenum
Myoglobin

N

NEFA
Nickel
Nitrite
Norepinephrine
Normetanephrine
Norpropoxyphene
Nortriptyline
NT proBNP

O

Oestradiol
Osmolality
Osteocalcin
Oxalate
Oxazepam

P

PAPP-A

Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)
pCO₂
pH
Phencyclidine
Phenobarbital
Phenytoin
Phosphate (Inorganic)
Plasma Renin Activity
Plasminogen
Plateletcrit (PCT)
Platelets (PLT)
pO₂
Potassium
Prealbumin (Transthyretin)
Primidone
Procalcitonin
Progesterone
Prolactin
Protein (Total)
Protein C
Protein S
PSA (Free)
PSA (Total)
PT (Including INR)
PTH

R

Red Blood Bell Count (RBC)
Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW)
Renin (Direct Concentration)
Retinol Binding Protein
Rheumatoid Factor

S

Salicylic Acid
Secobarbital
Selenium
SHBG
Sirolimus
Sodium
Specific Gravity
Syphilis

T

T₃ (Free)
T₃ (Total)
T₄ (Free)
T₄ (Total)
Tacrolimus
Testosterone (Free)
Testosterone (Total)
Thallium
Theophylline
Thyroglobulin
TIBC
Tobramycin
Total hCG

Total White Blood Cell Count (WBC)
Transferrin
Triglycerides
Troponin I
Troponin T
TSH
TT

U

UIBC
Unconjugated Oestriol
Urea
Uric Acid
Urobilinogen

V

Valproic Acid
Vancomycin
Vitamin B₁₂
VMA

Z

Zinc


HIV/Hepatitis External Quality Assessment

The RIQAS HIV/Hepatitis EQA programme is designed to monitor the performance of tests used to detect HIV/Hepatitis virus antibodies. All samples are conveniently supplied liquid ready-to-use and are suitable for qualitative methods of analysis.

  • Liquid ready-to-use
  • 100% human plasma
  • Quarterly reporting (5 samples per quarterly distribution)
  • Submit results and view reports online via RIQAS.Net
  • Suitable for both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis

Not accredited to ISO/IEC 17043

Cat NoKit SizeFrequencyCycle StartParameters 
RQ91511.8ml
(samples shipped 4 times per year)
Quarterly reporting
(1 x 12 month cycle)
June10

Parameters

  • Anti-HIV-1
  • Anti-HCV
  • Anti-HTLV-II
  • HBsAg
  • Anti-HIV-2
  • Anti-HBc
  • Anti-HTLV-1&2 (combined)
  • Anti-HIV-1&2 (combined)
  • Anti-HTLV-I
  • Anti-CMV

Please note, product availability may vary country to country.


Epstein Barr Virus External Quality Assessment

The RIQAS Epstein Barr Virus (infectious mononucleosis) EQA programme is designed to monitor the performance of tests used to detect EBV virus antibodies. All samples are conveniently supplied liquid ready-to-use and are suitable for both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis.

  • Liquid ready-to-use
  • 100% human Plasma
  • Quarterly reporting (3 samples per quarterly distribution)
  • Submit results and view reports online via RIQAS.Net
  • Suitable for both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis

Not accredited to ISO/IEC 17043

Cat NoKit SizeFrequencyCycle StartAnalytes 
RQ91533 x 1ml
(samples shipped 4 times per year)
Quarterly reporting
(1 x 12 month cycle)
June3

Parameters

  • Anti-EBNA IgG
  • Anti-EBV VCA IgG
  • Anti-EBV VCA IgM

Please note, product availability may vary country to country.


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