Hygea Precision Medicine is offering companies a saliva based COVID-19 qPCR diagnostic test for their employees. This testing has a 24-72 hour turnaround time and is highly accurate (>97% sensitivity and specificity).

COVID-19 and Symptoms

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is caused by a strain of the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. Other strains of the coronavirus have caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

People with COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms. Some people may have mild symptoms, others can have severe illness, and some people may experience no symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. These are not all the symptoms a person might experience.

Spread

The virus spreads from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets that are produced when an affected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can be inhaled into the lungs by anyone nearby. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

Testing

Testing for COVID-19 can be divided into categories based on the methods used and the speed of the test. Three of these categories are diagnostic tests, rapid or point of care tests, and antibody tests.
Which test should I order?
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Rapid testing
Rapid testing or point of care tests differ from standard COVID-19 tests because they provide a result much faster, usually in hours or minutes rather than days.

They are also known as point of care tests because the testing is run in the same place the sample is collected (e.g. the doctor’s office) rather than being sent to a specialized lab. Rapid tests can be either diagnostic tests or antibody tests. However, this testing is typically less accurate than standard tests performed in a specialized laboratory.

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Diagnostic testing
Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 detects the presence of viral RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). This testing is typically performed from a nasal swab, however, there are other methods, such as saliva, that have received authorization by the FDA.

This test is usually performed in a specialized lab and typically takes several days for the results to be completed. However, despite the length of time to receive the results, this testing is generally most accurate for determining if a person is currently affected. This type of testing is also known as a nucleic acid amplification test.

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Antibody testing
Antibody testing for COVID-19 detects the presence of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that recognize foreign substances like bacteria and viruses.

There are different types of antibodies, some antibodies are produced early on when a person is infected and will no longer be present after the person has recovered (e.g. IgM), while other antibodies are produced later in the infection and may continue to be produced long after the person has recovered (e.g. IgG).


An antibody test for IgG can determine if a person was previously infected with COVID-19. This testing should not be used for diagnosing a current infection. Although it is possible that an antibody test can detect if a person is currently infected with COVID-19, diagnostic testing is more accurate for that purpose. Typically, this testing would be ordered 1 to 3 weeks after infection. Research is ongoing to determine if a person with a positive IgG antibody test (previously infected with COVID-19) is immune to being re-infected and if so, for how long that immunity lasts. Some research has also found that not all people infected with COVID-19 will have IgG antibodies.

Why test for COVID-19

Most people with COVID-19 will recover without need for medical care. Testing for COVID-19 allows a person to isolate from others and avoid spreading the virus. People who are positive can also communicate with their physician and develop a plan, in case symptoms do get worse.
For companies, testing can identify which employees are positive and may avoid shutting down a department or business. While research has not confirmed that persons who are antibody positive are immune to re-infection, it is likely that they are at a lower risk for being infected and may aid in determining who can return to work.

Treatment and prevention

There is no known treatment or prevention for COVID-19. There are a variety of different medications being studied for treating a person with COVID-19. There are also multiple vaccine trials that are ongoing to determine if they are safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.
Preventing the spread of the virus is one of the most important actions that people can take to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. These actions are especially important for older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wear a mask
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cough/sneeze in your elbow.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).