Testing for COVID-19
RT-PCR tests are conducted at several government and private clinics and hospitals. Refer to the health authorities for the latest list of facilities where testing for COVID-19 can be done:
You can do the DPI laser test and RT-PCR test at SEHA’s drive-through centres after booking an appointment through the SEHA app available on Google Play and App Store).
People of determination, whether citizens or residents, can get tested at home under the National Home Testing Programme for People of Determination. You can call on 8001717 to book an appointment for RT-PCR test for COVID-19.
Types of tests for detecting COVID-19
The UAE conducts the following types of tests to detect COVID-19 in people:
- RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test – RT-PCR test is considered a standard for diagnosing COVID-19 in the UAE. The screening is conducted by assessing a nasal swab. This method is a real-time assessment to detect SARS-CoV-2 genetic material or RNA from a person’s upper and lower respiratory specimens.
- Antibody tests (also known as serology tests) – According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- CDC, antibody or serology tests look for antibodies in a person’s blood to determine if he had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibody tests provide useful information for treating the COVID-19, analysing its spread, and potential implications for human resource planning.
- Laser-based DPI technology (Diffractive Phase Interferometry) – In this type of test, laser technology is used to examine blood samples for detecting the virus. It allows the health authorities to carry out large-scale screening within a few seconds to detect suspected cases of infections before they undergo a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests. It serves as a first step to detect suspected cases of infections before they undergo a PCR test. It is user-friendly, non-invasive and low-cost.
In addition, Department of Health - Abu Dhabi conducts the following three additional COVID-19 tests:
- Antigen test - The Antigen test detects the presence of antibodies that are produced by COVID-19. A nasal swab sample is collected and labelled with a dye. Infections can be determined within 20 minutes.
- The RT-LAMP test (Reverse Transcription LAMP) – This test allows for a quicker analysis as compared to the PCR test. It is conducted by collecting a nasal swab and placing it under equal-tempered conditions. Results are generated within an hour.
- The saliva test - The saliva test is used to detect infection in children aged between 3 and 16 years, if collection of nasal swab is not possible. Dubai Health Authority (DHA) also approved the use of saliva test among children.