COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
There are primarily two ways to detect COVID-19 infection.
- PCR or antigen tests – for current or active infection
- Antibody tests – for current or past infection
PCR tests detect virus’s genetic material while antigen tests detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Antigen tests are similar to PCR tests but are quicker and less expensive than a PCR test. Antibody tests show that you might still be infected (IgM) or were previously infected (IgG) by the virus, even if you never showed any signs or symptoms (asymptomatic).