What Are The Different Types Of Tests Available For COVID‑19?

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: January 11, 2021

You probably hear a lot about COVID-19 testing lately. But if you think you might have contracted COVID-19, what is the best type of test to get? Here is information about the different types of tests available and which type might be right for you.

Diagnostic Tests
Experiencing common COVID-19 symptoms such as a cough, fever, and fatigue? A diagnostic test is the best to learn if you have a current, active COVID-19 infection. There are two types of diagnostic tests available:
  1. Antigen tests detect certain proteins in the virus. This test also involves having a long, nasal swab inserted into the back of your throat to get a sample. Samples are then sent to a lab for analysis.
  2. Molecular tests, such as polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests look for genetic material that can only come from the virus. This test involves either a long, nasal swab inserted into the back of your throat or spitting into a tube to produce a saliva sample. The sample is then sent to a lab for analysis and it may take several days to get your results. PCR tests are considered the gold standard and are very accurate when performed under the supervision of a healthcare professional. It is the most sensitive diagnostic test and can detect small traces of the virus.

There are rapid test versions of both antigen and molecular tests too which can produce results in minutes. However, the rapid test can result in some false positives, meaning your test detected COVID-19 even though you are not infected with it.

If you think you are infected with COVID-19, Kroger Health is now offering affordable and convenient COVID-19 diagnostic testing at clinics and select pharmacy locations across the country. Patients can schedule an appointment at krogerhealth.com/clinictesting.

Antibody Tests
Do you suspect you may have had COVID-19 in the recent past? If so, an antibody test might be right for you. These tests detect antibodies that are made by your immune system to help fight infections. A positive COVID-19 antibody test indicates your body has produced antibodies that fight the virus that causes COVID-19. The antibodies may protect you from getting infected from the virus again, though researchers are still conducting tests to understand how long this protection may last. Alternatively, a negative antibody test means you have never been infected or that you may have a current infection since antibodies take 1-3 weeks to produce. The first antibody the body makes after an infection is Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and it is found in the blood and lymph fluid. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the most common antibody but can take time to appear after an infection. It protects against both bacterial and viral infections and is found in blood and other body fluids. Antibody tests available at Kroger test for both IgG and IgM antibodies.

If you suspect you might currently be infected, it is important to quarantine or isolate yourself to prevent the disease’s spread to others. Contact your healthcare provider for guidance on how to safely get tested.

If you think you may have been infected with COVID-19 in the past, but you are not currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Kroger Health is now offering affordable and convenient antibody testing at pharmacy locations across the country. Visit https://www.kroger.com/health/pharmacy/covid-care to learn more.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.