Does A COVID-19 Test Distinguish Between Delta And Omicron

Why To Get COVID-19 Tested

With both the Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants active, the need for testing and safety is at an all time high. Now that the world is aware of Delta and Omicron, we can begin to understand what makes them different, and how to stop them. Right now the best method to track the variants and the areas they affect is through extensive testing. When a large amount of the population in an area gets tested we are able to see “hot spots” where more people are infected. When these people that get tested do have COVID-19, are the tests able to differentiate between which variant the patient has? 

 

Can COVID-19 Tests Differentiate Delta and Omicron

Currently tests are only able to detect if the patient does in fact have COVID-19, and so they are not able to specify which variant is present in the test. In order to find out if a patient has Delta or Omicron, the test sample from the test has to be sent to a lab where they will conduct a separate genomic-sequencing process. Only then will the lab be able to tell which variant is present. Because of this most people who catch COVID-19 will not be able to find out if they have Delta or Omicron. In fact, testing centers and labs do not test every positive result they receive as this would take an incredible amount of time. Instead, labs will only test a certain percentage of their positive tests and use that data to extrapolate the number of each Delta and Omicron variants. This means that current case numbers for Delta and Omicron are estimates based on real data.

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