COVID-19 Method of Testing

To detect the coronavirus in the human body, various tests can be carried out, which are explained in the following blog. The most common tests are the PCR and antibody tests. Reliable evidence of infection with the coronavirus can only be provided by a valid test. The most frequently used test is the so-called PCR test. 

What are the existing tests available?

1. PCR test in the laboratory:

The PCR test in the laboratory is the most reliable corona test that is currently available. It detects the genetic material of the coronavirus in the body and indicates whether the patient is acutely affected by the disease. This analysis takes a swab from the throat or the nasal mucosa, which is then examined for coronavirus in a laboratory. The result is usually available within one to four days. 

Rapid PCR test outside the laboratory:  PCR rapid test outside the laboratory is not as precise as the PCR laboratory test. This rapid test also needs a swab from the mouth or throat area. The results of the PCR rapid test is available after two to three hours. The issue with these tests is the high level of sensitivity, which means that many tests show false-positive results. Therefore, the rapid test should be used carefully.

2. Antibody test:

The antibody examination does not detect the virus itself, but rather antibodies against the virus. The test needs a blood sample and is effective two weeks after infection. The test result is accessible after 15 minutes. The outcome only provides information on a surviving illness and is not suitable for the detection of a current infection.

3. Corona home test:

The over-the-counter corona tests are usually antibody tests, which cannot detect a current infection since the body doesn’t produce antibodies until 10 to 14 days after the infection. Therefore, this assessment will only make sense 14 days after the appearance of symptoms. Antibody tests can currently only be bought online as pharmacists are not allowed to sell these antibody-self-tests.

There are already Self-PCR tests available, in which a self-drawn throat swab is sent in for further lab analysis. Experts think that taking samples on their own is risky since errors can occur when taking the sample, which may falsify the test result.

How are the tests covered in your health insurance?

Depending on your policy wordings, many insurance policies will cover for your swab or rapid tests in the case of symptoms. The testing will only be covered if it is medically justified and prescribed by your doctor.  

In case you take a swab or PCR rapid test for traveling reasons, your insurance will likely not cover for the following examination.