How is the coronavirus test done?

Testing for COVID-19 involves inserting a 6-inch long swab (like a long Q-tip) into the cavity between the nose and mouth (nasopharyngeal swab) for 15 seconds and rotating the swab several times.

The swabbing is then repeated on the other side of the nose to make sure enough material is collected. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.

Emerging sample collection research
Saliva is more sensitive for SARS-CoV-2 detection in COVID-19 patients than nasopharyngeal swabs, meaning collection of saliva within your mouth can yield better sample collection for testing than the uncomfortable long swab inserted to the back of your throat. Read more here
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How Coronavirus Antibody, Genetic And Antigen Tests Work

There are three types of Covid-19 tests: genetic, antibody and antigen. More than 630 distinct tests are commercially available or in development, and some major players include Abbott, Roche, Thermo Fisher, LabCorp and the CDC are involved.

How do the tests for coronavirus work?
The tests currently being used to identify coronavirus infection are known as PCR tests. PCR stands for ‘polymerase chain reaction’, and it’s by no means a new testing method — PCR tests have been used since the 1980s and have a range of applications including the diagnosis of infectious diseases.

COVID-19 Diagnostics: Performing a Nasopharyngeal and Oropharyngeal Swab

In this video, AMBOSS presents care providers with an overview of sampling both the nasopharynx and oropharynx in suspected COVID-19 cases, an acute respiratory illness associated with infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. While a nasopharyngeal swab is the preferred testing method of the WHO and CDC, an oropharyngeal swab can also be conducted if necessary. When performing either type of swab, special care should be taken to reduce the risk of infection and ensure the reliability of swab results.

Coronavirus tests: how they work and what they show

There's a lot of talk about coronavirus testing at the moment, but some people are getting confused about what they actually are. How is the antibody test different to the PCR antigen test? What do they do? And why are they important? Josh Toussaint-Strauss speaks with Professor David Smith to answer some of these covid-19 questions

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