Making sense of COVID-19 cover image

Clinical laboratory testing is playing a critical role in efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it's by diagnosing patients with the novel coronavirus or screening the general public to determine the full extent of the outbreak. AACC asked leading laboratory experts to answer the most common questions about COVID-19 testing that we've been hearing from the public, so that people can better understand the testing for this virus and make informed decisions if they ever need to seek it out. Visit AACC for more information on the Making Sense of Coronavirus Testing series.

WHEN SHOULD YOU GET TESTED FOR COVID-19? If you are unsure of whether or not you've been exposed to COVID-19 and you don't have any symptoms yet, AACC President Dr. Carmen Wiley discusses how to determine whether you should get tested for the virus.

DOES WEARING A FACE COVERING REALLY STOP COVID-19? As scientists learn more about how COVID-19 spreads, Dr. Wiley explains how the benefits of wearing a mask have become increasingly clear—not just to protect ourselves, but to proactively protect those around us.

How Would Pooled Testing Work for COVID-19? As supply shortages continue to hamper COVID-19 testing, AACC President Dr. Carmen Wiley explains how pooled testing could enable clinical labs to process more tests while saving the materials needed to run them.

GETTING TESTED FOR COVID-19 AFTER PROTESTING Medical experts support the ongoing protests against racist police killings and brutality, but experts do also worry these protests could increase coronavirus spread. If you participate in the protests, AACC President Dr. Carmen Wiley discusses how you can do so as safely as possible.

ARE ANTIGENS THE ANSWER TO CORONAVIRUS TESTING? Now that lab experts are developing COVID-19 antigen tests, AACC President Dr. Carmen Wiley explains how these tests work. Compared with current coronavirus tests, these new tests will be easier to scale up and offer widely—but will they also be less accurate?


WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET TESTED FOR COVID-19? AACC President Dr. Carmen Wiley sheds light on why testing capacity remains frustratingly limited, explaining that shortages of crucial supplies are a significant obstacle to widespread testing—and what the federal government can do to remedy this issue.


WHAT IS PCR TESTING FOR COVID-19? Dr. Wiley gives an overview of PCR testing, which is the most common type of test for COVID-19 and the one that patients are currently most likely to encounter.


ANTIBODIES AND COVID-19: EXPLAINED AACC President-Elect Dr. David Grenache discusses what we know so far about the body's immune response to COVID-19, and why the presence of antibodies to the novel coronavirus doesn’t yet tell us whether or not a person is immune.


HOW DO SEROLOGY TESTS WORK FOR COVID-19? Dr. Grenache addresses the growing push for COVID-19 antibody testing, bringing much-needed clarity to the question of what these tests can—and can't—do.