Quick guide

Increase your COVID-19 IQ and ability to ACT with these resources.

Quick guide

Increase your COVID-19 IQ and ability to ACT with these resources.

Answers at your fingertips

We’ve compiled essential information about COVID-19 testing and ACT for a quick reference in one place.

FAQ

Answers to questions about ACT against COVID.

GLOSSARY

Learn the lingo for a clear understanding of testing options.

FAQ

Answers to questions about ACT against COVID.

GLOSSARY

Learn the lingo for a clear understanding of testing options.

FAQs

What is the mission of the Alliance?
The Alliance brings together a wide range of organizations, healthcare and public health professionals, officials, and others who share the belief that comprehensive testing solutions are a critical tool for helping to slow and eventually halt the spread of COVID-19.
Who else is a member of the Alliance?
We are in the early days of recruiting members, but we are in talks with public health experts, nonprofit community organizations, businesses, universities, and elected officials.
What is the geographic scope?
The Alliance has broad, national scope.
Are there dues involved?
There are no dues required to be a member.
Is there data to support the benefits of widespread adoption of antibody and antigen testing?
Yes, we are happy to send you a copy of our forthcoming white paper when it is published.
Where do we tell people to go to get tested?
How are members expected to participate?
We ask that you help us get the word out and share our resources with your membership/constituency, and allow us to list your name and logo publicly on our website.

We also ask that you help us communicate the role that antigen and antibody testing play in helping our communities return to daily life responsibly.

What resources do you provide to members?
The Alliance provides educational resources about PCR, antigen, and antibody tests, including which tests may be appropriate for you and your family, the value of each, and how testing can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Can you forward materials to me that I can share with my colleagues?
Yes, we have a one-pager about the Alliance that we are happy to forward. 

GLOSSARY

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  • Antibody/serology test
    Antibodies are proteins produced by the body’s immune system when it encounters foreign substances. Different antibodies recognize different markers, called antigens, on the outside of foreign invaders. COVID-19 antibody tests, also referred to as serology tests, examine blood samples to determine the presence of antibodies that recognize markers of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, indicating that the body previously had been infected. In many diseases, the presence of antibodies confers immunity, but scientists have not verified if this is true for COVID-19.
  • Antigen test
    An antigen is a marker on any foreign substance, such as a virus, bacterium, or fungus, that enters the body and triggers an immune response (the production of antibodies). COVID-19 antigen tests use cell samples from a nasal or throat swab to detect whether a specific antigen from SARS-CoV-2 is presently infecting a patient.
  • Asymptomatic
    An asymptomatic person shows no symptoms of a disease, even if they are infected with a virus. They may turn out to be pre-symptomatic (meaning they will develop symptoms over the course of the disease) or remain asymptomatic for the entire duration of their infection.
  • Coronavirus
    A coronavirus is any member of a large family of viruses that sometimes produce diseases in humans. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2.
  • COVID-19
    COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 and is shorthand for “Coronavirus Disease 2019.”
  • Diagnostic tests
    In the context of COVID-19 testing, diagnostic tests are performed to identify infected persons who are symptomatic and/or at risk with known or suspected exposure.
  • False negative
    A false negative test result shows that the virus or antibodies were not detected when they were in fact present at the time of the test. False negatives are becoming rarer in COVID-19 diagnostic tests but are still possible in even the most accurate tests.
  • False positive
    A false positive test result shows that the virus or antibodies were detected when they were not in fact present at the time of the test. False positives occur in some types of COVID-19 diagnostic tests but are becoming less common as test accuracy improves.
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT)
    A type of viral diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. NAATs detect genetic material (nucleic acids). NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 specifically identify the RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences that comprise the genetic material of the virus.
  • Nucleocapsid Protein Antibody Test
    Individuals with a positive/reactive nucleocapsid antibody test result indicates immune response to naturally acquired SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or molecular test
    A PCR-based test is a type of molecular test. It is the most commonly used nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and detects the presence of viral RNA in a sample to determine whether a patient has an active COVID-19 infection. PCR tests are typically conducted by obtaining cellular samples via nasal swab and are sent to a lab for processing.
  • Rapid test
    A rapid test, in reference to COVID-19 diagnostic testing, is a test that can deliver results in 60 minutes or less because they are processed at the point of care rather than sent to a lab. In most contexts, “rapid test” is used interchangeably with “antigen test.”
  • SARS-CoV-2
    SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific name of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • Screening tests
    In the context of COVID-19 testing, screening tests are performed to identify infected persons who are presymptomatic or asymptomatic and without known or suspected exposure who may be contagious, so measures can be taken to prevent further transmission.
  • Sensitivity
    A test’s sensitivity measures how often a test correctly produces a true positive result, meaning the patient who tested positive does in fact have the condition being tested for. The higher the sensitivity, the fewer false negative results.
  • Specificity
    A test’s specificity measures how often a test correctly produces a true negative result, meaning the patient who tested negative does not in fact have the condition being tested for. The higher the specificity, the fewer false positive results.
  • Spike Protein Antibody Test
    A positive SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG antibody result may reflect an immune response to a recent/prior natural SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because the COVID-19 vaccines launched in the United States an immune response to the spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2, a positive SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG antibody result could also reflect an immune response to COVID-19 vaccination. However, the clinical significance of an immune response after vaccination is not yet known. At this time, there are no FDA authorized tests for individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccination, and the performance characteristics of the authorized antibody tests have not been established for those individuals. Similarly, the CDC states, “Antibody testing is not currently recommended to assess for immunity to COVID-19 following COVID-19 vaccination or to assess the need for vaccination in an unvaccinated person.
  • Surveillance tests
    In the context of COVID-19 testing, surveillance tests are performed on groups of people with the goal of better understanding the prevalence of infection in the broader population. Results of surveillance testing are not reported to individual persons, but for entire groups as a percentage of those testing positive.
  • Symptomatic
    A person who is symptomatic exhibits symptoms of a disease. In COVID-19, those symptoms are most often a dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell.
  • Transcription Mediated Amplification (TMA) Test
    Type of molecular (NAAT) test used to accurately detect viral ribonucleic acid (RNA). Viral RNA detection is the gold standard for COVID-19 active infection testing.

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Antibody testing determines the presence of antibodies that recognize markers of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, indicating that the body previously had been infected. In many diseases, the presence of antibodies confers immunity, but scientists have not verified if this is true for COVID-19. See the glossary section of our website to learn about the difference between Nucleocapsid Protein Antibody Tests and Spike Protein Antibody Tests.

PCR testing is used to accurately detect active infections. It is a type of molecular test and considered the gold standard for testing. PCR is the most commonly used nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).

Antigen testing is used to identify active infections. It expands testing capacity as a fast, reliable, and affordable screening and diagnostic option.