swab test procedure

Is the CVS Covid Testing Safe and Accurate?


In a bid to aid the government in its mass testing efforts, CVS Health recently announced that they’ll be offering Covid-19 antibody testing in their MinuteClinic locations across the nation. The CVS Covid testing offer allows people to identify whether they have been infected with Covid-19, with results coming out within 15 minutes of administering the test. MinuteClinic is CVS Health’s retail medical clinic brand and has over 1,000 locations inside select CVS Pharmacy stores in over 30 states and Washington, D.C.

Last year, CVS tested out this program at over a hundred locations, with pilot clinics in Texas and Massachusetts seeing some of the first CVS customers to avail of the company’s covid testing offer. While CVS has administered nearly 15 million Covid tests since the start of the pandemic, some people are wondering whether their new offering is safe and accurate.

The CVS Covid Testing Process

When a customer visits CVS for Covid testing, a member of their MinuteClinic care team will perform an antibody test which involves collecting a drop of the person’s blood as a sample, usually with a finger stick. The antibody test is designed to detect the presence of specific antibodies that were generated by the patient’s body during a previous infection with Covid-19. Surprisingly, this test came about after studies on coronavirus bats yielded results that pointed scientists to use antibodies as a way of detecting previous infections.

After getting their results, patients then pay $38 using cash, credit, debit, HAS, or FSA cards, with MinuteClinic honoring Medicaid Insurance policies. This service is available in most MinuteClinic locations across the country except Nevada (although they’ll be offering the service soon).

Man Doing A Sample Test In The Laboratory
Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

How Safe and Accurate is CVS’ Covid Testing?

But how safe and accurate is CVS’ covid testing facilities? So far, officials from both state and federal health offices have inspected CVS’ covid testing processes and found them to be compliant with all current health policies.

As for the accuracy of CVS’ covid testing, it’s entirely dependent on the type of test they administer. The most popular test is the antibody test, which only tells people whether they’ve been previously infected: antibodies are only generated 1 to 3 weeks after infection. This means that, while an antibody test can detect if a person was sick, it might not be able to determine whether a person is sick at the moment. Granted, people with certain lifestyles make them more susceptible to Covid, which means that a more timely test is required.

The more accurate Antigen test involves having a clinician swab the back of your nasal passage and throat for samples. This is a more accurate process but with two problems: first, it’s slightly more invasive and requires a technician to administer the test, and secondly, results take around an hour to come out. The accuracy rate of Antigen tests, however, is higher than that of the antibody test, and can be used to determine whether a person is currently infected with Covid.

Meanwhile, the most accurate test is the molecular or PCR test. This test involves using the same technique as the antigen test to collect swab samples in your nasal and throat passages. The PCR test’s results take anywhere between hours and days depending on whether the sample is sent back to a laboratory. As of now, the PCR test is the gold standard of testing and is the recommended testing procedure for medical professionals.

Currently, while there are dozens of vaccines available and are being rolled out across the country, people already infected with Covid have limited choices in terms of medication. Ask your medical provider as to what your specific treatment ought to be and it is best not to self-medicate, especially since certain drugs have side effects that could exacerbate Covid symptoms.

If you think you have the symptoms, make sure to get tested immediately. For mild symptoms, and a Covid-positive test, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Stay in a specific room in your home and avoid contact with anyone else. If you’re living with someone, you should have your own utensils, you can’t share your food as well.

More severe symptoms will require confinement in a hospital or health facility so you can receive proper care and, hopefully, recover from the illness.

The Covid 19 pandemic is showing no signs of ending in many parts of the world. The vaccination is just one way to protect people from it, but the length of efficacy is yet to be determined. Add to that the new virus strains are still appearing that may reduce the effectiveness of the current vaccines.


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