Important information about COVID-19 testing

We have created this page to give you an overview of COVID-19 testing and information about how to handle your results.

Several tests are available to detect COVID-19: viral antigen tests and viral antibody tests.

Viral FIA Rapid Testing and Viral PCR testing

“Antigen” is a fancy name for a substance bound to a virus.  We offer two types of viral antigen testing; FIA and NAA testing.

FIA (Flow Immunofluorescent Assay) testing is a convenient approach to testing.  To perform an FIA test, we use the SOFIA machine made by Quidel, Inc., which reports a test in as short as 20 minutes.  SOFIA and SOFIA 2 machines are one of the most sensitive and specific point-of-care machines available for COVID-19.  The higher the viral load, the more reliable the results.

PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing is the best test on the market.  The test is a qualitative assay using a sensitive technology that amplifies a part of the virus before running the test.  This type of amplification takes time and a PCR test usually takes 3-5 days to be processed.  There are variants of this test that can be processed faster, however, special equipment is needed and is generally reserved for hospital or larger labs.

Antibody Testing

The body makes antibodies in response to having an infection. By checking your blood for the presence of antibodies, a doctor can tell you if you had a past infection. An antibody test might not show if you have a current disease because it can take 1–4 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies.  Personal MD only run this test to determine if you have already had an infection.  At this time, we do not know how long the human antibodies for the SARS CoV 2 will last but it does seem to be affected by how bad of an infection you had (mild infections make fewer antibodies).

Having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 might protect from getting infected with the virus again. If you do have antibodies, there is a chance you can donate your plasma to help treat other people that are currently infected with COVID-19.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you have mild symptoms, we have provided a general information page to give you some guidance.  You should also contact your healthcare provider for specific medical advice about your case.

Letters for work must come from your health care provider. Personal MD does not provide you with a specific letter clearing you to be excused from work or to go back to work.  If you require a note regarding your current status, start by showing your test results page. Most employers are equipped to guide you regarding your test status.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected.  However, it is possible that you did not have a high enough viral load of COVID-19 at the time of testing. What that means is you might test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive a few days later once the virus has had a chance to grow. We are very aware of this possibility so we offer a repeat rapid test for a significant discount.  If you develop symptoms less than 14 days after your initial test, you should consider getting another test done to determine if you are infected.  Contact our office for details.