COVID-19 Diagnostic Unit

 

The COVID-19 unit is licensed by the health regulatory authority (ERS) to provide laboratory healthcare services within the scope of clinical analyzes, being registered with the number E150638. The laboratory is prepared for the molecular diagnosis of respiratory viruses, such as common influenza viruses – Influenza A Virus, Influenza B Virus and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) as well as the new SARS virus variant, SARS-CoV-2. The laboratory is also prepared to carry out immunoassays, such as the quantification of immunoglobulins G (IgG) against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The unit has been part of the national network of laboratories COVID-19 since July 13, 2020, when it received a positive opinion from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

Healthcare Staff
        • Clinical director – Ruben Fernandes
        • Executive manager – Pilar Baylina
        • Technical Director – Fernanda Duarte
        • Technical Coordinator – Carla Guedes
        • Scientific Advisor – Patrick Pais
        • Clinical Secretariat – Álvaro Gestoso
Laboratory tests
    • SARS-CoV-2 – goldstandard method rRT-PCR by several methods and different genes (RdRP, ORF1, E, and N)
    • SARS-CoV-2 – rapid antigen test
    • Respiratory viruses – rRT-PCR (Influenza A, Influenza B, RSV)
    • Antibody quantitative tests – E.L.I.S.A. for IgG anti-SARS-CoV-2
    • Antibody rapid tests – immunocromatography for IgM and IgG anti-SARS-CoV-2
Healthcare Services

Besides conducting all the process at our facilities (from the biological material collection until the final result) we also receive the biological samples collected elsewhere at our facilities. We may also provide qualified technical staff in order to collect biological samples (rino/orofaringeal sampling, blood collecting, …) at your facilities.

 

Lab tests explained

Here we provide some information about which test to use in each situation and its interpretation.

Do you intend to perform a screening test?

There are two types of screening tests:

  1. Do I have the virus?

    If you want to know if you have the virus or not, then you should be tested either to the proteins of the virus (rapid antigen test) or to the nucleic acid of the virus (RT-PCR). The last one has diagnostics value.

  2. Have I been exposed to the virus?

    If you want to know if you have been exposed to the virus then you should test for antibodies. Antibodies are your natural defenses that ultimately are / or have been fighting the virus.

I have flu-like symptoms. Do I have COVID-19?

The only method reliable for COVID-19 diagnostics is the rRT-PCR. This method detects the presence of the virus, since it detects some pieces of its genome, by a method of amplification genome copies. Another methods is detecting the protein pieces of the virus (rapid antigen test). The technology to detect proteins does not amplify such proteins so, this method is less reliable since it needs much more copies of the virus, but since it is direct is faster. So if you perform a rapid antigen test, and the result is positive you are most probably positive. If your rapid test is negative and you have symptoms, consider with your doctor to perform a rRT-PCR test.

Am I immune to COVID-19?

Well, that’s the one million dollar answer. The marker that indicates we are probably immune to one infectious disease is the presence of IgG against that pathogen. This is true in most cases, but it is not always like that. Our immune system usually fights pathogens with antibodies. They are different kinds of antibodies. In the case of COVID-19, most rapid serologic tests (tests for antibodies) detect the antibodies against COVID. Antibodies are proteins, and similarly to rapid antigen tests, the technology does not allow the amplification of proteins. So there is a need for a high amount of antibodies for being detected this way. However, your laboratory will have the technology to detect fewer amounts of antibodies (immunoassays like ELISA or CLIA) and it can even quantify them, which will be valuable for your physician. Interpretation: If you are IgM / IgA positive consider with your doctor to perform a PCR to see if the virus is still on your bod. If you are IgG positive, so you’re probably immune to COVID-19 for the next months. There is a period where IgA, IgM, and IgG are present together.

Associated Facilities

Virology Lab

Molecular Biology Lab

Biobank

Main Clients

Our commitment to healthcare

We have a team prepared to provide high quality results with the least time possible. We have automated equipment for nucleic acid extraction and highly qualified technicians for molecular biology methods.

I am so proud to witness the daily drive of our staff. Their ethical commitment means that they do not just analyze samples, but rather they are concerned with the people ‘behind’ the test tube.

RUBEN FERNANDES
RUBEN FERNANDES
Clinical Director

I appreciate your enthusiasm and availability. It is inspiring for our teams.

PILAR BAYLINA
PILAR BAYLINA
CEO - LaBMI
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