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Dansk

Novel corona tests

There are several types of tests for novel coronaviruses. The test response provides only a snapshot, which is why it is important that you continue to comply with the infection prevention recommendations, regardless of what your test results say.

Types of tests:

PCR tests

A PCR test – also called a molecular test – is a highly sensitive test that detects genetic material (RNA) of the virus using a lab technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A sample is collected from your throat or nose by inserting a swab. This test is used in the national testing strategy and is considered safe. It is used to determine if you are infected with novel coronavirus here and now. 
The test is only a snapshot of your infection status at the time of testing, which is why it is essential that you continue to comply with the infection prevention recommendations even if your test result is negative. 

PCR testing should always be used if you:

  • Have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for novel coronavirus
 

Rapid antigen tests

An Antigen test – a rapid diagnostic test can detects the presence of viral proteins (antigens) in a sample from the respiratory tract of a person. Antigen tests can produce results in minutes, but they are far less accurate than PCR tests. In fact, an antigen test will give the correct result only 50 per cent of the time. 

A rapid test (also known as an antigen test) is a chemical test that detects viral proteins in a sample taken by a nasal swab. The rapid test is less sensitive than the PCR test and does not give an equally secure answer. However, you get your result back within 15 minutes and can help break the chains of infection faster. You should not take a rapid test if you have symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for novel coronavirus.

The Danish Health Authority recommends that the test be used purposefully and systematically, and for selected groups. This could be, for example, as targeted screening of groups in society among which there is currently widespread infection, e.g. among 15-25-year-olds.

A rapid test, like the PCR test, is only a snapshot of your infection status at the time of testing.  Therefore, it is essential that you continue to comply with the infection prevention recommendations, even if your test result is negative.

 The Danish Health Authority recommends the use of fast tests in the following situations: for the following groups: 

  • Selected areas or age groups among which there is currently widespread infection – for example among the 15-25-year-olds. 
  • When you learn you are a 'secondary contact via the smitte|stop app.
  • When screening ‘secondary contacts', for example if there has been an outbreak of coronavirus in a workplace with large open-plan office space. 
  • Screening of, for example, school classes if there is one known case of infection.
  • Screening of visitors, spectators, etc., at major cultural and sporting events.
  • Frequent screening (twice a week) of 15-25 year-olds in educational institutions (e.g. secondary education and universities), in student accommodation, etc. in areas with widespread infection.
  • Frequent screening of persons (twice a week) whose work requires physical attendance and where we know outbreaks are likely to occur, for example in slaughterhouses, at construction sites and among prison staff. The list of professions will be revised on an ongoing basis (in collaboration with the Danish Patient Safety Authority and Statens Serum Institut).
  • Frequent screening (twice a week) of staff at nursing homes and other institutions where people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 reside and in areas with widespread infection
 

Antibody tests

We know that most types of viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections – for example influenza and other types of coronavirus – gives you immunity for a while. When you are immune to a virus, you cannot get infected again. Current knowledge suggests that most people build up some immunity against COVID-19 after they have recovered. Tests have been developed to detect antibodies against novel coronavirus in your blood. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can protect against getting that disease again (immunity). Unfortunately, we do not yet know to what extent the antibodies protect against new infection or for how long you are immune after you have recovered. Therefore, an antibody test cannot determine with any degree of certainty whether you can become infected again.

The Danish healthcare system only tests for antibodies in connection with research and government monitoring. You can buy an antibody test, but the quality of these tests varies. We therefore recommend that you continue to comply with the general advice on how to prevent the spread of infection, even if an antibody test has shown that you have formed antibodies against novel coronavirus.

 
Updated 22 DEC 2020