COVID-19 Testing is Still Relevant in Houston – Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Even though we are familiar with the pandemic by now, many have taken precautions against COVID-19 by wearing masks when appropriate and staying up to date with vaccinations.

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

The COVID-19 vaccination is designed to teach your immune system to recognize the coronavirus so that it’s better prepared to respond to actual virus exposure if you get infected. The purpose of vaccines is to provide protection without needing to get sick to build the proper antibodies.

What is a spike protein?

There are several proteins that make a virus, envelope protein (E), membrane protein (M), and spike glycoprotein (S). S proteins do two things:

  1. Bind to receptors on the host cell, and
  2. Fuse the envelope of the virus with the host cell membrane.

These functions are labeled as subunits of the S protein, S1 subunit, and S2 subunit. Once the S1 subunit binds to the host cell, there are two changes that happen to allow the S2 subunit to adhere the virus to the cell membrane.

COVID structure

What Are COVID-19 Testing Solutions?

COVID-19 surveillance solutions offer effective ways of monitoring for and protecting yourself or your employees. Now that we’ve been going through these times since 2020, more solutions are available for maintaining safety in work and travel.

COVID-19 Viral Testing

Testing is during the time of infection and is most effective within 5 days of exposure to someone with the virus. done via a nose or throat swab 48 hours after exposure

There are two types of viral tests: Rapid (Antigen) and Standard (PCR).

Rapid Viral Testing: Also known as same-day viral testing, which means you get the results within the same day you swab. While this option detects current infection and may fit travel or surgery requirements, it’s always best to check that location’s specific requirements.

Standard Viral Testing: Also using a nasal/throat swab like with rapid testing, the standard testing provides results in 2-5 business days and does fit travel and pre-surgical requirements.

COVID-19 Antibody Tests

What are COVID-19 antibody tests?

Basic antibody tests look for antibodies within your blood to show your body’s past infection-fighting efforts to understand how prepared you might be to fight off the COVID-19 virus. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system creates either after vaccination or illness.

The length of protection varies by disease and individual person, but the way antibodies work is by attaching to an antigen (a toxin or unwanted substance) to make it easier for immune cells to destroy the antigen.

The ideal time to schedule an antibody test is at least 14 days after exposure or 7 days after symptoms end because your body needs time to build the antibodies. Then, after a quick blood sample, the results take 3-4 business days to come.

There are two types of COVID-19 antibody tests: Basic and Immune Response.

Immune Response Antibody Testing: This is a panel, which provides more detailed results to not only help identify patients who have begun an immune response against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). and differentiate whether that response is likely due to vaccination or natural infection. Immune Response panels give results in two ways:

  1. Qualitative N AB: This clarifies whether an individual has the nucleocapsid antibody – a specific antibody that is only found in people who have been exposed to and recovered from COVID-19.
  2. Spike Protein Quantitative: This test measures spike protein levels to understand how well the COVID-19 vaccine worked to help your body create antibodies.

A positive antibody test result indicates that you have antibodies from either a previous infection or from a COVID-19 vaccine. It is possible to receive a positive result if you’ve never been vaccinated for the virus or felt symptoms of COVID-19 – this is from either a false positive or an asymptomatic infection, which means you had an infection with no symptoms.

COVID-19 Travel Tests

travel test

A way to remove one of the stressors of traveling internationally is a quick COVID-19 travel test. While we can’t speak for all facilities, at ARCpoint Labs of Houston Northwest, a COVID-19 travel test takes next to no time with:

  1. Scheduling an appointment either online or over the phone
  2. Filling out your intake forms virtually before your appointment
  3. Using your emailed QR code to check into your timeslot
  4. Receiving a nose/throat swab to test for the virus
  5. Getting your results within hours via a secure message

Don’t forget – we also offer B2B on-site tests to cover your personal and professional needs.

Tru-Immune™ Tests

This test is for anyone that’s interested in knowing how your immune system might respond to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. With a small blood draw, researchers can better understand the effectiveness of vaccinations, and you can discover how susceptible you are to infection.

After 3-4 business days, Tru-Immune™ Test results come in the form of a percentage between 0 and 100. Under 20% indicates that your body doesn’t have fighting antibodies. Anywhere between 20% and 100% means that your blood sample contains evidence of neutralization capabilities. While the drawback is that you won’t know how much protection you have exactly, or how long it will last, the benefit of this technology is a better understanding of how many precautions you should take to protect yourself from COVID-19.

How Do COVID-19 Vaccines Work?

There are three types of vaccines to fight against COVID-19.

MRNA Vaccines

Two authorized vaccines are known as messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, which contain a portion of the spike protein to trigger an immune response. This response will prompt the body to build antibodies, helping the receiver build immunity to the virus without getting sick. It takes two weeks after a second dose of the mRNA vaccine to fully protect yourself.

Viral Vector Vaccines

Instead of using a COVID-19 virus, viral vector vaccines use a different virus to teach your cells to make a harmless spike protein piece – triggering an immune system response. This is a one-dose vaccine, which also takes two weeks for full protection to take place.

Protein Subunit Vaccines

Without using any live virus, these vaccinations contain protein pieces with an additive that boosts the vaccine’s effectiveness in the body. As another two-dose option, protein subunit vaccines take about two weeks to fully protect the body.

The licensed and insured professionals at ARCpoint Labs of Houston Northwest are here to help with COVID-19 testing solutions and vaccines – don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn more about your options in Houston.