A guide to COVID-19 Testing Methods

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By Anna Paternnosto & Ophélie Guillouet-Lamy

As the Covid-19 pandemic is spreading across the globe, the economic and social consequences of the crisis are becoming more critical. And subsequently, the necessity for governments to be able to quickly test their population to the virus is a time sensitive issue. Indeed, the sooner states will be able to test efficiently and massively their population, the sooner individuals and companies will start living and operating normally again, and the sooner the situation will come back to an ante-Covid-19-state. But for that to happened, states must first define their Covid-19 Testing strategies, based on the existing testing research and technologies available.   

At this time, three main methods exist for the testing of Covid-19 virus. These three methods differ from one another by the way the sample collection for testing is done, the element they detect, the rapidity and their detection rate capacity.    

First, we will review the RT-PCR Test, which detects the presence of the virus itself, and can only be done in a laboratory setting. Second, we will present the two types of Rapid Diagnostic Tests which do not require the supervision of a laboratory or medical staff: the Antigen detection Test is meant to detect the presence of a protein which is present in the virus while the Antibody detection Test is detecting the antibodies produced in response to the infection by the virus. 

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