Mobile COVID-19 Testing

iHealMed is now offering a rapid PCR and NAAT COVID-19 test for travel and corporate events. There are three main types of Covid-19 testing methods: Antigen, PCR and NAAT tests. Covid antigen tests check for a specific protein molecule (antigen) that is produced by the Covid-19 virus. These tests typically take 5 to 15 minutes to run but are not as sensitive or specific for Covid-19 which is why many countries insist upon PCR or NAAT tests for travel clearance. Our Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) use the Abbot ID NOW machine which features a unique molecular isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology — all within a self-contained test cartridge. Instead of thermal cycling, the system uses enzymes to rapidly drive the amplification process. Our NAAT test is on par with many PCR tests in terms of sensitivity but delivers these results at a fraction of the time and cost of a traditional PCR test.

How is COVID-19 detected?

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be detected in three ways: an Antigen test, a Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) or a molecular test (PCR).

What is NAAT test?

A Nucleic Acid Amplification Test, or NAAT, is a type of viral diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. NAATs detect genetic material (nucleic acids). NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 specifically identify the RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences that comprise the genetic material of the virus. The NAAT procedure works by first amplifying – or making many copies of – the virus’s genetic material that is present in a person’s specimen. Amplifying or increasing the copies of nucleic acids enables NAATs to detect very small amounts of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a specimen, making these tests highly sensitive for diagnosing COVID-19. In other words, NAATs can reliably detect microscopically small amounts of SARS-CoV-2 and are unlikely to return a false-negative result of SARS-CoV-2. Test results are typically provided in less than an hour and are accepted by many countries, cruises and airlines for travel clearance. Please check with your travel clearance restrictions to see if NAAT testing is accepted.

What is a molecular test (PCR)?

A molecular (or PCR) test detects the genetic material of the virus. These tests are usually performed in a laboratory and can detect very small amounts of the genetic material. Test results typically provided within 24 hours.

What is a COVID-19 antigen test?

COVID-19 antigen tests are designed for the rapid diagnoses of active infection primarily by detecting the nucleocapsid protein antigen of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) from nasal swabs or similar clinical specimens. After collection, point-of-care antigen tests take approximately 15-30 minutes to finalize a result.

Antigen tests are generally less sensitive than PCR tests. Because of the lower sensitivity, false negative antigen test results are possible and testing is most accurate when there is a high pre-test probability of SARS-CoV-2 infection like high prevalence of infection in the community or a patient who is showing symptoms of COVID-19. In addition, viral carriage is highest early in infection; therefore, antigen tests are more likely to detect a true positive early in infection.

Single antigen tests, done at one point in time, are typically meant to be used within 4-6 days after symptoms begin showing, though at least one test allows for testing more than 7 days after symptoms begin showing. Please contact your medical provider or refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate time window for the test being used.