Types of Testing

You may be hearing a lot about testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a recent announcement about a new test being developed at the University of Arizona and it may be confusing to people. There are two kinds of tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19. There are viral tests and antibody tests, also known as serology tests. Viral tests are used WHILE someone is sick or infected to confirm if the person’s illness is caused by the COVID-19 virus. AFTER somebody has been sick, antibody tests are used to determine if you were infected with the virus sometime in the past. Because it can take weeks for antibodies to form after somebody has been infected, it can be several weeks before a test indicates a person had COVID-19. Formal testing often serves as an official measurement of the spread of a virus across a community.  Due to the shortage of both types of tests for COVID-19, officials are turning to other reporting methods, such as that used in AZCOVIDTXT, to help assess the impact of COVID-19 in our community.

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