SafeWork Laboratories offers COVID-19 testing accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA). We detect coronavirus infection using Polymerase Chain reaction (PCR) tests of deep nasal and oropharyngeal swab samples.
Why PCR Test?
PCR is considered the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19 infection. The laboratory test detects RNA, which contains the genetic information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. If a donor’s swab sample shows evidence of virus RNA, then that means they are actively infected.
Compared to rapid antibody tests, PCR identifies antigens from the coronavirus rather than the presence of the body’s immune response. Viral RNA typically forms in the body before antibodies or symptoms of the disease appear.
By looking for coronavirus RNAs, doctors can tell whether a person has contracted the virus early on. This is something that an antibody test may not be able to accurately do, especially in certain types of patients.
PCR vs Rapid Antibody Test
Antibody tests are unhelpful in the acute diagnosing COVID-19 infections, according to Dr Phil Tynan, SW Labs’ Chief Toxicologist. These tests often miss the early stages of the disease when the donor will be infectious to other people.
For elderly or immunocompromised donors, rapid antibody testing may not be an effective option. These individuals often don’t develop an immune response to the COVID-19 virus as quickly as others. In some cases, they might not even produce antibodies to the infection at all.
Antibody tests also produce false positive results because of cross-reactions between immunoglobulin (IgM) antibodies and the coronavirus.
In comparison, PCR testing doesn’t have these kinds of issues. It identifies gene sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus early in the disease, when a donor is infectious.This makes PCR an excellent choice for confirming COVID-19 infections.
Who should be tested?
A majority of people infected with COVID-19 only experience mild symptoms. In many cases, they don’t even show any symptoms at all. They are called asymptomatic patients.
However, some coronavirus carriers can develop signs of the disease. These could go from moderate symptoms to severe and even to critical in a short span of time.
If you’ve contracted the COVID-19 virus, you may develop symptoms within 2-14 days. Some of the most common signs include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Runny nose (congestion)
- Nausea or vomiting
If you experience symptoms of the coronavirus, contact your healthcare provider and have yourself scheduled for COVID-19 testing.
Meanwhile, asymptomatic patients with known or suspected exposure should also be tested for the coronavirus.
Getting Tested for COVID-19
SW Labs has its own COVID-19 testing laboratory that handles specimen collection. We collect swab samples taken from a donor’s nose (nasopharyngeal) for PCR testing. We service adults and older teenagers in need of confirmatory test results.
To collect nasopharyngeal specimen, the collector will insert a flexible wire shaft swab through the donor’s nostrils parallel to the palate (not upwards). The distance of the insertion should be equivalent to that from the donor’s ear to the nostril indicating contact with the nasopharnyx.
Next, the collector will gently rub and roll the swab inside the donor’s nostrils. They will then leave the swab in place for a few seconds to let it absorb secretions before removing it.
After collecting swab samples, the collector will secure the specimen inside sterile vials containing 2 ml of viral transport media. Next, they will send the samples to our COVID-19 testing laboratory to screen for possible coronavirus infection.
SW Labs COVID-19 Testing Laboratory
SW Labs’ new COVID-19 testing facility is located in Perth, Western Australia. However, our lab-based coronavirus testing is available for clients throughout the country.
ISO-Accredited Coronavirus Screening
When testing for highly infectious diseases like COVID-19, accuracy could very well be a matter of life and death. That’s why our coronavirus screening service follows strict guidelines set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA).
We are fully compliant with all ISO 15189 provisions and the CDNA National guidelines (Coronavirus disease 2019 – COVID-19; including both Section 7 and Appendix A: SARS-CoV-2 Laboratory testing).
Highly Efficient Specimen Collection and Testing
We understand how important it is to have safe and efficient COVID-19 specimen collection and testing. Our Perth testing laboratory has full accreditation from NATA and The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA). We also train our staff well when it comes to safely collecting and transporting nasal swabs.
At SW Labs, we make sure that all of our test results come out as quickly as possible. We can have your PCR-based COVID-19 test results in as fast as 24 hours after we receive your specimen sample. That’s a guarantee.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the dangers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Schedule your COVID-19 test with SafeWork Laboratories today.
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