What analysis to take for COVID-19?
In Moscow, a huge number of coronavirus tests are carried out every day. Analyzes for the presence of the virus are carried out by two methods of PCR and ELISA (IHLA). Also, if there are suspicions that you have had a mild or asymptomatic illness, it is possible to check for the presence of antibodies in the blood. Let’s consider each test separately.
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) — a metod of laboratory research to determine the presence of virus in the body. For analysis, take a swab from the oropharynx or nose.
Testing is mandatory for patients with symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections, pneumonia, who are in the hospital or have close contacts with people who already have a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus.
A smear is performed in a medical institution or at home when a doctor is called from a clinic.
According to the established requirements of Rospotrebnadzor, if a person was sent to hospital for treatment, the patient can be discharged only if there are two negative results of the PCR test.
ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) — blood tests to detect the immune response to the virus.
The results represent the amount of immunoglobulins. The IgM indicator shows the level of immunity to infection (whether a person is sick at a given time or not). The IgG parameter says that the patient has already suffered from the disease, and the antibodies protect the body.
ELISA research is carried out:
- employees of medical institutions — weekly;
- to hospital patients — on the day of admission to the clinic;
- for those who are on a day visit to a hospital or in CT centers — at the first visit;
- to patients of a general practitioner in a polyclinic (referral from a doctor is required).
It is important to undergo ELISA tests so as not to endanger yourself and your loved ones. The study shows the exact amount of immunoglobulins and allows you to identify:
- asymptomatic carriers. The person does not feel unwell, but can infect others;
- patients with moderate to mild illness, when two weeks have passed since the day of infection. In such cases, the symptoms can be felt as with a typical SARS, but with coronavirus, this means that the infection may have descended through the airways into the lungs. In this case, the PCR analysis of the nasal mucosa or throat may be negative.
The diagnosis also recognizes people who have already suffered from COVID-19 and have developed antibodies.
Combined use of PCR and ELISA tests
To improve the effectiveness of the diagnosis of COVID-19 — conducting both tests. PCR testing reflects the course of the disease in the initial stages. In later stages, the method may show a negative result, therefore, it is recommended to additionally conduct an ELISA study to identify damage to the lung tissue. If the result is positive, the doctor carefully examines and listens to the patient with a phonendoscope. With shortness of breath or wheezing in the chest, CT diagnostics are prescribed, which shows whether there is lung damage or not. This allows you to detect the disease, understand at what stage it is, and prescribe drug therapy.
Testing forCOVID-19 is available in many healthcare settings. For example, the clinic AO Medicine conducts all types of research on coronavirus infection, and also offers x-rays or CT scans of the lungs. If you suspect that you may have become infected or are an asymptomatic carrier, schedule a PCR test COVID-19.