As testing has become is one of the main strategies in our fight against COVID-19, many options have emerged regarding it. Every day, we learn more about how coronavirus behaves and mutates, and this information provides our scientists and researchers with the insight to develop screening methods that are highly accurate.
Through trial and error, we have established the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test as the primary way of testing, and it has been used for nearly the past two years at hospitals, airports, and even at our homes. But, this too is now changing as more accurate, efficient, and cheaper options like the Lateral Flow Test are becoming widely available to the public.
Currently In Use
The two main testing methods currently in use by the public and private sectors are the PCR test and Lateral Flow Test (LFT). The LAMP and LampORE tests are also used, but not as frequently. CURIAL-Rapide AI is a new test that is showing promise and is worth keeping an eye on.
Polymerase Chain Reaction Test
The PCR test, due to its high accuracy and effectiveness, is currently the gold standard to test for COVID-19. It detects the genetic material (RNA traces) of COVID-19 in one’s swab sample. Individuals tend to receive their results within 2 to 4 days.
Since its authorisation in February 2020, it has been in use around the world. It is used for general testing, travel-related testing, and confirmatory testing in conjunction with the Lateral Flow Test.
Lateral Flow Test
The Lateral Flow Test is a cheaper and quicker alternative to the PCR test and is therefore starting to be widely adopted. As per updated rules in the UK, incoming fully vaccinated travellers from select countries can take the Day 2 Lateral Flow Test in place of the previously required PCR Test. Similarly, the Lateral Flow Test can also be taken by outgoing travellers in need of a Fit to Fly Certificate. You can find on this blog more information about the new rules and the usage of the test.
The test requires a swab sample that is then checked for viral proteins (antigens) of COVID-19. It is processed on the spot within minutes, and the results become evident. The test clearly has a lot of benefits, but it does lag in accuracy in comparison to the PCR test. If one tests positive for COVID-19 in the Lateral Flow Test, it is therefore recommended that a confirmatory PCR test is taken to rule out any possibility of a false positive. Accuracy is, therefore, a key difference between the Lateral Flow Test and the PCR test. However, there are other differences as well that you can find in this blog.
LAMP and LamPORE
Real-Time Loop-Mediated Amplification (LAMP) technology detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This test detects infection in a sample taken from the oral or nasal cavity of the individual. As a result, the test can be used both at home and in a lab. The test results take around 35 minutes in a clinical setting.
The LAMP test is based on RNA extraction from the sample. This RNA is analysed to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the presence of which indicates an infection. LamPORE is an additional laboratory equipment used to increase the number of samples which can be combined and analysed simultaneously. This added layer of analysis allows for sifting through negative samples and samples that have been incorrectly obtained.
The analysis of all the samples is performed automatically by the device with no need for manual intervention or interpretation. Results are provided in visual format and data formats that are compatible with the rest of the laboratory’s information management system.
The standard LAMP test can be used at home and in clinical settings as it is a relatively simple test to conduct, requiring minimum equipment. However, the LamPORE is made explicitly for Laboratories. Therefore, the large-scale analysis provided by the LamPORE is primarily utilised by laboratories and scientists to study COVID-19 further.
The CURIAL-Rapide Artificial Intelligence screening test is an emerging testing method. It uses routine tests to screen patients in emergency settings for COVID-19. This version of the CURIAL COVID-19 test can only be performed at the bedside. Results are achieved within a 10-minute processing time without needing to send samples to a laboratory.
Studies show that COVID-19 screening results by CURIAL-Rapide were available 45 minutes after patients arrived in the emergency department. The rate of these test results is significantly faster than the previous testing options. In addition, compared to the PCR test, the CURIAL-Rapide AI was much more sensitive to identifying COVID-19 infection than LFT.
The research team behind CURIAL-Rapide are in the process of applying for funding from the National Health Service to begin a national rollout to all hospitals and emergency centres.
IQ Doctor is a fully verified and licenced online pharmacy. We offer a range of PCR, LFT, and antibody testing options. Our tests can be used for general and travel-related purposes. IQ doctor is partnered with government-approved labs across the UK and provides accredited results in the quickest time possible. You can book your test on our IQ Doctor’s website. We also offer a free consultation to guide you on what kind of test would best meet your needs. For more information, you can contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.