PCR assay, serological (antibody) and complex tests for CoViD-19

To detect and monitor new infections, for contact research, assess immune response, monitor healing and protection.

PCR assay

The PCR test detects the virus itself in 1 to 3 days after the infection by examining the genetic characteristics of the virus (polymerase chain reaction) from a sample, taken from the pharyngeal mucosa. The test is suitable for confirming the suspicion of the disease, establishing a diagnosis, confirming recovery, and contact researches.

The official price of the PCR test is 19 500 HUF.

The PCR tests, provided by Medicover, are performed in a microbiologic laboratory that meets the criteria issued by the National Public Health Center (NPHC).

These test results (2 negative results in 48 hours, within 5 days) are accepted by the epidemic authorities to issue the decision about the release of the official surveillance or quarantine. Please note that the petition for the release with the negative test results should be sent to the epidemic authorities.

In case of quarantine, visiting a testing laboratory should be requested from the authority who ordered the quarantine. In case of official surveillance, this is not mandatory. It is important to take the first test after the 4th day, after the contact of an infected person.

CoViD-19 positive individuals with symptoms are not allowed to leave the place assigned to quarantine by the public health department of the competent local borough/district authority.

At our Budapest clinics, the result – based on prior experience – in the case of PCR tests taken before 14:00, is completed by the end of the next working day. For samples taken after 14:00, the result will be sent by the end of the 2nd working day after sampling.

At our country clinics, in case of non-close contact, the result of the test is completed by the end of the next working day after sampling, while in case of close contact, by the end of the 2nd working day after sampling.

In case you would like to order PCR assays for more persons (e.g. family or for employees up to 15 persons) please fill in our group PCR tests order form by clicking here.

If the sample was taken on the last workday of the week, for an additional fee (10 000 HUF) the result will be available during the weekend, otherwise on the following workday. Learn more >>

High sensitivity serological test

The most reliable antibody test that shows with high accuracy whether someone is infected or has already been infected and recovered. The blood samples are being tested in our laboratory using a high-sensitivity ELISA or immunofluorescence (IFA) method.

Taking into consideration the pandemic situation, the price of the serological test is 19 000 HUF.

The test result is usually completed within 1 workday (up to 3 workdays), and will be sent via e-mail. Learn more >>

Coronavirus IgG antibody test

The test measures the strength of the IgG immune response after a coronavirus infection, which shows if someone has been infected and recovered. It is recommended to assess the strength of the immune response after a known coronavirus infection or to confirm a suspected coronavirus disease after an earlier illness that showed similar symptoms.

Taking into consideration the pandemic situation, the price of the antibody test is 13 000 HUF.

The test result is usually completed within 1 workday (up to 3 workdays), and will be sent via e-mail. Learn more >>

Complex coronavirus test package

This package contains the coronavirus PCR test and the high sensitivity serological test. This complex test helps detect the disease with high accuracy (even at an early stage), whether someone has been infected before and has already recovered. The test results also show fresh, ongoing, or an earlier infection.

Taking into consideration the pandemic situation, the price of the combinated test is 37 000 HUF.

The test result is usually completed within 1 workday (up to 3 workdays), and will be sent via e-mail.

About coronaviruses in general

Coronaviruses (coronavirus abbreviated in English: CoV) are enveloped RNA viruses that infect humans, mammals, and birds. Some of these can cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, hepatic and nervous system diseases in humans. Two types of coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV (i.e., Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) and MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), have previously caused severe viral respiratory epidemics.

CoViD-19 epidemic

The 2019 coronavirus pandemic, which began in China, is known as coronavirus disease (CoViD-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Common symptoms of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, but diarrhoea and muscle pain may occur. In more severe cases, the infection can cause bilateral pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (abbreviated: SARS), kidney failure, and even death.

The incubation period of the virus is estimated to be between 2 and 14 days, and the disease usually lasts for 5 days. This long time also makes it difficult to schedule laboratory samples. Coronavirus could be safely identified by laboratory tests, of which there are several types available.

In the current epidemic situation, there are many articles about coronavirus tests. Several, sometimes inconsistent information makes it difficult to decide which method to choose. The following describes the serological assay for detection of coronavirus antibodies by Medicover, and those cases in which we recommend doing so.

Koronavírus Teszt

Direct detection of the causative agent of coronavirus infection

An infection can be detected by the following methods:

  • PCR and antigen tests to detect the presence of the virus itself
  • or serological tests to detect antibodies produced in an immune response against the virus. For this latter kind of test, a blood sample is to be taken.
Koronavírus Ellenanyag Teszt

PCR assay

Using this technique on nasopharyngeal swabs, viral RNA, i.e. the virus itself can be detected at the earliest 1-3 days after the infection. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test looks for the genetic code of  SARS-CoV-2 and it will return a positive result until full recovery is reached.

As an advantage, PCR provides an early-detection of the virus, but in case of too early testing (during initial incubation period), when the virus is yet undetectable in the taken sample, a retest might be necessary. Once the patient recovers, the virus disappears from the mucous membranes. In case of a previous positive test result, the patient can be considered recovered after two negative tests performed at an interval of 48 hours. PCR test is suitable for confirming and making a diagnosis, confirming recovery and examining contact persons.

Inadequate sample collection may cause problems in two different ways as follows: sample does not contain virus copies in a sufficient amount or sampling was performed in a too early stage of the incubation period, when the virus cannot yet be detected. Results are available within 2 days. We inform our patients about the results via e-mail.

Official price of testing is 19 500 HUF.

Based on prior experiences, results will be available on our online surface within 1-2 workdays after the date of testing, and the test results of persons who have been in close contact are completed within 2-3 working days.

If the sample was taken on the last workday of the week, for an additional fee (10 000 HUF) the result will be available during the weekend days, otherwise on the following workday.

We kindly ask our clients to consider the following points:

  • For safety reasons, we require our clients to wear a facemask and gloves when coming for testing.
  • It is important that you do not eat, brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, smoke, chew gum for a period of 4 hours before the test.
  • Before the examination is performed, our colleagues measure your body temperature and ask if you have any of the COVID-related symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pains/aches or other symptoms that may indicate COVID). In case you have any of the symptoms listed above, we can not perform a PCR test.
  • In accordance with the corresponding legal regulations we report positive cases to the competent authorities. After testing, our laboratory will destroy samples.

High sensitivity serological test

This procedure examines the immune response to the infection, namely antibodies produced against the virus, in drawn blood samples. Whenever any bacteria, viruses, fungi or other kind of microorganisms enter our bodies, it is the immune system that recognizes them as “invaders” and protects our health against them. As a result of a complicated immune response, antibodies (immunoglobulins, Ig) specific to the infecting pathogen are produced and the formation of immunological memory cells begins, which provides a long lasting protection against the specific pathogen. The same applies for coronavirus disease.

In general, 4 days after infection IgM and IgA antibodies start to be produced against SARS-CoV-2. Antibody levels become detectable for laboratory diagnostic devices 7-8 days after infection. IgM and IgA antibodies continue to be detectable in blood for 4 weeks after the initial infection. IgM and/or IgA tests in themselves are not to be taken as informative.

IgG to coronavirus, an antibody that provides long lasting protection becomes detectable 10 days after the infection. According to some authors this also means that from this point the disease stops being contagious. Presence of IgG also indicates an ongoing and long lasting immunity, which according to the current state of science can last for a period of 1-3 years.

Koronavírus Ellenanyag Teszt

Due to the high number of individual variations, laboratory results must be thoroughly interpreted. It can happen that an examination gives a result which cannot tell the actual phase of the coronavirus disease certainly enough. In these cases, a retest is to be performed after 10-14 days. A claim for retest will be indicated on the lab report.

The most reliable serology test is based on venous blood. We detect the anti-coronavirus antibodies in our own laboratory using ELISA and immunofluorescence assay (IFA) methods performed on our own laboratory equipment. As an advantage, the test can be used with great accuracy for detecting new or former infections, confirming recovery or acquired immunity.

We recommend antibody (serological) testing for the following scenarios:

  • screening communities,
  • examination of contact persons of infected individuals,
  • detecting coronavirus specific IgG antibodies, it can be shown whether the recovered patient developed an appropriate immune response,
  • using this test method, it can be decided whether the causative agent of a healed upper airway disease with symptoms like catarrh and fever was SARS-CoV-2 or not,
  • performing antibody testing for asymptomatic patients, it can be shown whether an immunity against the virus developed without having been infected.

Taking into consideration the pandemic situation, the price of the serological test is 19 000 HUF.

The test result is usually completed within 1 workday (up to 3 workdays), and will be sent via e-mail.

Coronavirus IgG antibody test

The assay measures the IgG immune response after a coronavirus infection. An adequate amount of antibody provides protection against a recurrent infection of the coronavirus.

The test helps determine if someone has already had the infection and is already healed, therefore, is protected.

Taking this test is recommended after infection, to assess the strength of the immune response, or to determine if a previous illness with similar symptoms was caused by the coronavirus.

The finding shows the level of the antibody concentration in the tested blood serum. The higher this value is, the higher the level of protection.

Taking into consideration the pandemic situation, the price of the antibody test is 13 000 HUF.

The test result is usually completed within 1 workday (up to 3 workdays), and will be sent via e-mail.

Evaluation of test results

The table below summarizes the possible outcomes and interpretations of PCR and serological test results.

PCR PRODUCED ANTIBODIES AGAINST SARS-CoV-2
  IgM/IgA IgG Interpretation of test results
positive negative negative

No infection occurred or there may be a COVID-19 infection but no antibodies have yet been produced

(due to the window period)

positive positive negative COVID-19 infection is likely, early stage
positive negative positive Middle phase of COVID-19 infection, early IgM to IgG conversion occurred. Possibility of recurring infection.
negative positive negative New coronavirus infection (COVID-19) with false-negative PCR results OR early phase antibody production has been already started
negative negative positive The virus is no more detectable. Ongoing post-infectious immune response, indicates protection.
negative positive positive Ongoing infection, however SARS-CoV-2 itself is no more detectable, IgM and IgA antibodies continue to be detectable, protective IgG production started. False-negative results of PCR assay possible.
negative

doubtful,

weak positive

negative Weak IgM response to the infection. It is caused by immunodeficiency or other reasons. Repeated test recommended after 2 weeks.

Who might qualify for testing antibodies against coronavirus?

  • Recommended for screening communities
  • Suitable for testing contacts of those infected with coronavirus
  • Detection of IgG antibodies against coronavirus is verifiable the adequate immune response of those infected with coronavirus
  • After any upper respiratory catarrh, fever the test shows that whether the disease is caused by coronavirus or other pathogen.
  • In asymptomatic individuals, it is detectable by antibody testing whether the protection has developed without they would have been ill.
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