Tests for Coronavirus

Publication date: 10.06.2020 ,Update date: 02.12.2022
Czas czytania: 10 minut
Tests for coronavirus

Coronavirus is a highly contagious pathogenic viral infection caused by SARS-CoV-2. Some people can have no symptoms but pass the virus on to others. In other cases, the disease may have serious symptoms and even lead to death.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell or taste, muscle aches and headaches, diarrhea, and rash. If you have any of the below symptoms or had contact with an infected person, tests are the best way to exclude or confirm the SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

What are the types of COVID-19 tests? What is the price and where you can perform the test? Learn more about the Damiana Medical Center offer.


Learn more:

The Antibody or Serological Testing

The test looks for antibodies body against SARS-CoV-2 in your blood. 

This type of diagnosis is important for people who have had COVID-19 with mild or no symptoms. The IgM antibodies in the blood may indicate an active infection, but they can only be detected 7 to 10 days after the first coronavirus symptoms. The IgG antibodies in the blood indicate a past contact with the virus. Performing the test in both classes simplifies the interpretation of the result.

The antibody testing is not recommended to diagnose current infection or evaluate the treatment of COVID-19 (recommendations by WHO). 

  • When the test should be used?
    • To diagnose past infection in people with mild or no symptoms (it is also necessary to obtain a negative RT-PCR test result),
    • Epidemiological studies.
  • Sample: blood.
  • WHO recommendation: for research only.
  • Result: up to 24 hours.

It is important to remember that whether your antibody test is negative or positive, you still have to perform an RT-PCR test to confirm or exclude past or present infection. 

You should consult the results of antibody tests with a doctor.

RT-PCR Testing

What is a molecular RT-PCR test? This type of test is based on the polymerase chain reaction. This test is characterized by high sensitivity and precision. The PCR test allows determining the genetic material of a virus, even if the initial sample is small.

The sample for the RT-PCR test is collected from the throat, nose, or nasopharynx. A positive result means that you have a SARS-CoV-2 infection. This type of test is commonly used by The State Sanitary Inspection (short for Sanepid) in Poland. The test result is ready in 48 hours (usually up to 24 hours).

  • When this test should be used?
    • To diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection.
    • Control test (to exclude infection from the respiratory tract).
  • Sample: material from the upper or lower respiratory tract.
  • WHO recommendation: yes
  • Result: up to 48 hours

Depending on your preference Damiana Medical Center offers PCR test: 

  • at our clinics or mobile testing sites in the biggest Polish cities,
  • at your home in Warsaw.

RT-PCR test for coronavirus and influenza A and B viruses

You can also perform a PCR test for coronavirus and influenza virus (type A and B) at our testing sites. It is a molecular test used to diagnose causes of respiratory infections. This test detects the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A and B viruses. The test should be performed when in doubt as to the cause of respiratory tract infection.

When this test should be used?

  • To diagnose the SARS-CoV-2 or influenza virus types A and B;
  • control tests (to exclude infection from the respiratory tract)

Sample: material from the upper or lower respiratory tract.

Result: up to 48 hours.

The FRANKD Screening Test

The FRANKD test is a genetic coronavirus screening test performed using the RT-LAMP method. This new, fast, and effective method of detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus was developed by Polish scientists from the GeneMe laboratory. The screening test has CE and IVD certificates that comply with WHO guidelines and is recognized by the Sanepid. The positive test result is additionally verified by the RT-PCR test (from the same sample and at the same price).

  • When this test should be used?
    • Rapid screening diagnostics.
    • In the case of a positive result (included in the test price and from the same sample), the RT-PCR test confirms the result.
  •  Sample: throat swab.
  •  WHO recommendation: yes.
  •  Result: up to 48 hours.

Antigen Testing for SARS-CoV-2

The COVID-19 antigen test detects specific viral antigens (structures that the body recognizes as foreign) that stimulate our immune system. Antigens are detectable only in the early stages of the infection (when the coronavirus is actively multiplying). So it is recommended to perform this type of test in the early stages of the disease. 

Please note that the antigen test can only be used if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

The antigen testing more faster than RT-PCR testing and is used for rapid diagnosis of infection. The result is ready in 15 to 30 minutes. However, the Polish Society of Epidemiologists and Doctors of Infectious Diseases recommends verifying antigen test results (positive and negative) with a genetic test for COVID.

  • When this test should be used?
    • In the early stage of the disease (if the tests are validated).
    • Sample: swab from the upper respiratory tract.
  • WHO recommendation: yes, but only for patients with coronavirus symptoms 
  • Result: ready in 15 - 30 minutes.

Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus tests

RT-PCR test (molecular)

When this test should be used?

  • to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection,
  • control tests - evaluation of virus elimination from the respiratory tract.

Specimen: material from the upper or lower respiratory tract.

WHO recommendations: yes

Result: up to 48 hours


FRANKD (molecular screening test)

When this test should be used?

  • rapid screening diagnostics,
  • in the case of a positive result - RT-PCR test confirming the result (included in the test price and from the same sample).

Specimen: pharyngeal swab.

WHO recommendations: yes

Result: up to 48 hours

Serological (antibodies)

When this test should be used?

  • for retrospective diagnosis in people with asymptomatic or mild infection (it is also necessary to obtain a negative RT-PCR test result),
  • in epidemiological studies.

Specimen: blood.

WHO recommendations: for research only

Waiting time: up to 24 hours

Antigen test

Application: at early disease stage (if the tests will be validated)

Specimen: upper respiratory swab.

WHO recommendations:: yes, only for patients with symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection

Result: from 15 to 30 minutes

How to buy a coronavirus test in Warsaw?

  1. Go to the website https://sklep.damian.pl/.
  2. Choose one of the available options
  3. Book a date;
  4. Make a payment.

You have a wide range of payment options: Blik, Millenium Bank, Bank Nowy BFG S.A., Bank Pekao, Banki Spółdzielcze, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Pocztoywy24, Getin Bank, Nest Bank, Noble Bank, Alior Bank, City Handlowy, Idea Bank, Inteligo, iPKO, Plus Bank, BOŚ Bank, ING, Santander, Toyota Bank, Volkswagen Bank, mBank transfer, Visa, Master Pass, Alior Raty, mBank Raty, Google pay, Pay Po, Sky Cash, banking by Alior Bank, P24.

  1. Perform the test at one of the facilities in Warsaw or other towns in Poland.

How to prepare for the coronavirus test?


Bring a document that confirms your identity to the testing center (with a photo and PESEL number). Wear a mask, remember about social distancing, and avoid public transport on your way to the testing center.


Preparation for COVID-19 testing depends on the type of test you choose. There is no special preparation for antibody testing, but there are a few rules that you should follow to prepare for other tests. PCR, FRANKD, and antigen testing require a nasopharyngeal swab. To prepare for these tests, follow a few basic rules: 

  • Do not eat at least 3h before the test.
  • Do not smoke before the test.
  • Do not wash your teeth, use a mouth wash, throat lozenges, or lollipops.
  • Do not chew gum.
  • Do not blow your nose.
  • If you have removable dentures, take them out before the test.

How long does the coronavirus test take?

Depending on the type of test, the duration time is from a few seconds to one minute.

Genetic (RT-PCR) and screening (FRANKD) tests involve touching the nasopharynx with a swab. It takes a while. Antigen tests require rubbing for 10 seconds in each nostril. Antibody testing takes a little longer. It is a blood test, so the first step is preparation (setting a tourniquet, disinfection), and then a sting and blood sample collection.

Scientific facts about SARS-CoV-2

Is SARS-CoV-2 similar to common cold and flu viruses?

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, whose genome is a single strand of RNA. One of the interesting aspects of coronaviruses is that they have the largest genomes of all known RNA viruses (≈ 30 kb). These large genomes led researchers to suspect the presence of a “proofreading mechanism” to reduce the mutation rate and stabilize the genome. This relatively low mutation rate will be of interest for future studies predicting the speed with which coronaviruses can evade our immunization efforts (such as vaccinations).

The flu is caused by an entirely different family of RNA viruses called influenza viruses. The flu viruses have smaller genomes encoded in eight distinct strands of RNA. They infect human cells differently than coronaviruses.

The common cold is caused by a variety of viruses, including some coronaviruses and rhinoviruses. Cold-causing coronaviruses (e.g. OC43 and 229E strains) are quite similar to SARS-CoV-2 in terms of their genome lengths and gene contents, but different from SARS-CoV-2 in terms of sequence and infection severity.

How stable and infectious is the virion (complete, infectious form of the virus outside the host cell, with RNA or DNA core and capsid) on surfaces?

SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected on various surfaces several weeks after they were last touched (Moriarty et al., 2020). The data regarding the probability of human infection from exposure to contaminated surfaces are not yet available, because the experiments to test this aspect are very difficult.  However, caution and protective measures should be taken. Further study on the risk of infection from touching surfaces is urgently needed.

How do N95 masks block SARS-CoV-2?

The N95 masks probably protect against several viral transmission modes. Measurements of the particle filtration efficiency of N95 face masks show that they are capable of filtering approx. 99.8% of particles with a diameter of around 0.1 μm (Regnasamy et al., 2017). SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus (≈0.1 μm in diameter) so N95 masks are capable of filtering most free virions.

The N95 face masks block various particles, not viruses only. Viruses are often transmitted through respiratory droplets produced by coughing and sneezing.

Respiratory droplets are usually divided into two sizes: large droplets that fall rapidly to the ground and are thus transmitted only over short distances, and small droplets which can evaporate and remain suspended in the air for significant periods of time. There is currently no direct evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission through small evaporated droplets. Rather it is believed that larger droplets are major vectors for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, usually by settling onto surfaces that are touched and transported by hands onto mucosal membranes such as the eyes, nose, and mouth (CDC 2020). Therefore, N95 masks probably protect against several viral transmission modes.

How long does it take a single infected person to yield one million infected people?

The basic reproduction number (R0) suggests that each infection generates directly 2-4 more infections in the absence of countermeasures such as social distancing. Once a person is infected, it takes a period of time called the latent period before they are able to transmit the virus. The current best estimate of the median latent time is ≈3 days followed by ≈4 days of close to maximal infectiousness (Li et al., 2020, He et al., 2020). The exact durations vary among people, and some are infectious for much longer. Using R0≈4, the number of cases will quadruple every ≈7 days (or double every ≈3 days).

Therefore, going from one case to 1,000 requires about one month. So we expect one million cases in two months and one billion cases in three months. Even though this calculation is highly simplified, ignoring the effects of super-spreaders, herd immunity, and incomplete testing, it emphasizes the fact that viruses can spread at a bewildering pace when no countermeasures are taken. This illustrates why it is crucial to limit the spread of the virus by social distancing.

Why was the initial quarantine period set to two weeks?

The period of time from infection to the emergence of first symptoms is called the incubation period. The median SARS-CoV-2 incubation period is estimated to be roughly 5 days (Lauer i in. 2020). Yet, there is much person-to-person variation. Approximately 99% of the symptoms will show up before day 14, which explains the two-week confinement period.

Importantly, this analysis neglects infected people who never show symptoms. Since asymptomatic individuals are usually not tested, the number of such tastes is still not clear, or for how long asymptomatic people remain infectious.

What is the effect of physical distancing?

Let’s suppose that you are infected, and you meet 50 persons over the course of a day of working, commuting, socializing, and running errands. Let’s also suppose that you have a 2% chance of transmitting the virus in each of these encounters so you are likely to infect one new person each day. If you are infectious for 4 days, then you will infect four others (on average).

If you follow the rules of social distancing, you will meet 5 people during the day – not 50.


* The price shown is for information purposes only and does not constitute an offer within the meaning of Article 66 paragraph 1 of the Civil Code.

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