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.

Testing Methods

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).

Importance of Antibody Testing

Conduct epidemiological studies; plan for social distancing

Find good candidates for convalescent plasma therapy

Identify children with MIS

Reassess medication for immune compromised patients

Identify first-in-line candidates for vaccination

Identify high-risk patients among asymptomatic populations