As our world continues its wait for a verified vaccine against COVID-19, our medical community is hard at work in trying to control the spread of the disease. Testing has proved to be our most reliable strategy towards effective detection and isolation of positive cases. At the moment, the Philippines is utilizing an array of testing methods: PCR, antibody, and antigen tests. Of these, antigen testing is the latest one to be utilized, aimed to make up for the limitations of the first two methods.
What is an antigen test?
Just as its name suggests, antigen tests detect antigens. Antigens are molecules that can stimulate an immune response in our body. They are responsible for triggering the process of releasing antibodies when we are sick.
To detect COVID-19 patients, SARS–CoV–2 antigen test utilize antibodies that are produced in animals to hunt for proteins embedded in the coronavirus’s surface. If the antibodies detect viral proteins in a sample, the person will most likely be diagnosed as COVID-19 positive. Essentially, if the sample contains viral antigen proteins, those antigens will then be sandwiched by two antibodies: one that attaches them to the test kit and another that makes them visible. The more coronavirus antigen there is, the more dye will be visible, indicating that the patient is infected with SARS-CoV-2.
As mentioned earlier, the antigen test can augment the limitations of PCR and antibody testing. Compared to the laboratory-based and time-consuming PCR testing, antigen tests allow for COVID-19 diagnostics to a wider scope of population. Antibody tests ae incapable of detecting cases at the earliest and most contagious stages – which the antigen test can perform. For a holistic diagnosis of COVID-19 cases, it is highly suggested to utilize these tests in conjunction with each other.
With the vaccine yet to be developed and distributed, our main objective is for the continuous finding and isolation of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. MEDTEK is now an official distributor of the Savant COVID-19 Antigen Test Kit. For accredited testing organizations interested in purchasing this products, please feel free to fill out the form below.