Testing is vital to preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. In fact, it is becoming more and more common for staff to be routinely tested to prevent the spread of the virus. Whether it is professional sports teams or nursing homes, testing a large group of people can help prevent the spread of the virus. In fact, the CDC recommended that medical facilities require staff to have two consecutive negative tests before returning to work after a single positive test. This same procedure has been used in the MLB and is being utilized by businesses across the country. The novel coronavirus is a new disease and is actively being studied at the same time that treatments, vaccines, and tests are developed. The nasopharyngeal swab test has been regarded as the most accurate testing option.
What is a Nasopharyngeal Swab Test?
Testing using the nasopharyngeal swab is recommended by the CDC because of its accuracy. A nasopharyngeal swab is a six-inch swab that a physician uses to collect a sample specimen via the nasal passages. The samples are then sent to a clinical laboratory where they undergo PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing. Through this process, a specimen is stimulated to self-replicate quickly making the sample size larger and easier to detect. Ideally, this process would only take 24- 48 hours. The CDC recommends the PCR method due to its higher rate of accuracy.
What Other Types of COVID-19 Testing Are There?
Another common test is a saliva test. Many patients are interested in saliva testing because it is less invasive than a nasopharyngeal swab test. However, the CDC only recommends saliva testing as an alternative to nasopharyngeal testing because of issues with test accuracy. SARS-CoV-2 is highly dangerous because of how it can effectively be carried by an individual without them knowing. Many individuals are asymptomatic or do not present symptoms until 10-14 days after the initial exposure. Clinical studies on saliva testing against nasopharyngeal testing have shown that saliva test accuracy and effectiveness decreases the earlier the test is used. The goal of testing especially when done for medical facilities, campuses, and athletic facilities is to find individuals with the coronavirus as early as possible to limit the spread through self-quarantine. Although saliva tests may be effective as a non-invasive alternative to nasopharyngeal swab, it is still recommended that patients seek nasopharyngeal swabs testing for accurate results.
Learn More About COVID-19 & Testing
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