How then do you choose what is the best COVID-19 test to use- and who can you trust?
The best tests – both for active infection (PCR) and past infection (antibodies) are performed by laboratories because laboratories have been though FDA approval, must meet certain standards, and the analysis s performed by trained professionals.
The best of the best though are performed in CAP accredited high tech laboratories that conduct testing for research and also those related to universities. In Southern California this includes Bach Laboratories, Exceltox, UCSD, UCI, and Healthquest. These labs use the most high tech and accurate equipment such as the ThermoFisher 7500 or Diazyme DZ-Lite 3000 Plus chemiluminescence analyzer. They use US made tests by companies like Roche and ThermoFisher that have dozens of FDA Approved assays.
Where can you get tested for COVID-19 and what should you steer clear of?
Hospitals are conducting testing but there is a risk in entering a place that also caters to people that are ill so I prefer small medical practices and clinics. But be sure you go to one that does testing as a core service and avoid offices and practices that have taken on testing only recently for the sake of generating profit.
Sample collection, storage and transfer -whether blood, saliva or nasal- is an art and requires experience, practice, good policies and understanding.
Rapid tests are the least reliable and not worth your time or money. Imagine my telling you I can analyze everything in the ocean water with just one drop as my sample. It’s the same for detecting infection or antibodies from a finger prick and a drop of blood. Compared to a whole vial of blood or nasal swab analyzed in a high tech lab a rapid test or take home test is nothing to bet your life on.
The takeaway, what COVID-19 tests are accurate and reliable, where can you get tested…
Avoid fingerstick or dry blood-spot rapid tests and take home tests. Get tested by a company offering a US-made test analyzed in an accredited lab and don’t think of an EUA or FDA cleared test as anything indicative of accuracy or quality.