Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are all the answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer to your question, please feel free to contact us for more information.

PCR COVID-19 test general

Many of our tests can be carried out anonymously. Since the RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 requires reporting to the GGD, we cannot perform this test anonymously. Of course, we work according to ISO 27001 and follow the guidelines of the GDPR to guarantee your privacy.

- Please bring your own ID.
- Bring your test access card with you on paper or on your phone. The test access card can be found in the attachment to the appointment confirmation, which you received by email.

Be on time for your test appointment, but don’t come too early. This prevents you from having to wait for a long time. Please wait in your car and switch off the engine if you are standing still.

At home or at another (holiday) address:
- Stay at home or at your holiday address and only go out to be tested.
- Do not receive any visitors, except a GP if necessary.
- Maintain 1.5 metres distance from your housemates/family members.
- Follow the basic rules of the National Government.
- Write down who you have been in contact with in the last few days.

Test appointment:
- Go to the test site at the agreed date and time to take the test, preferably on your own.
-Keep an eye on your email for notification of when your test result is available.
-Stay at home or at your holiday address until the test results are known.

Are your symptoms getting worse? Then contact the GP or the GP out-of-hours surgery.

Are you waiting for your test result? Write down who you have been in contact with in the last few days. You only need to write down the names of the people with whom you have spent 15 minutes or more at a distance of less than 1.5 metres in the 2 days before the symptoms started, until the moment you stayed at home. For example: Your symptoms started on Wednesday. Write down the names of the people with whom you had contact for 15 minutes or more, at a distance of less than 1.5 metres, from Monday on. Does the test show that you have COVID-19? Then please inform the people on your list of this. These people may also be infected.

A deep swab is taken from the nose and throat using a cotton swab. This is taken to our laboratory for the PCR test.

With a PCR, a piece of genetic material of the virus is multiplied strongly in order to be able to demonstrate its presence. The PCR test has a high test sensitivity. This means that the PCR test will pick up the virus even in someone who does not (yet) have a lot of virus particles. The PCR test is the same test as used at the GGD test sites and in hospitals.

If you have symptoms that fit with COVID-19, it is always recommended to get tested. So even if you have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, you will still need to have a test done if you have symptoms.

No, you cannot cancel your appointment. The preparation costs have already been incurred and the appointment has been scheduled, so we cannot schedule any other customers.

However, you can come back at a later time, not later than 24 hours after the original appointment, to have a test taken. Please bring your test access card with you on paper or on your phone. If you are unable to attend, please let us know at info@howareyoudiagnostics.com and always include your test access card barcode or appointment number with your personal details.

There are situations when non-residents of the Netherlands need a certificate to travel back to their own country, for example. In such cases, it is important that the names given match those on the person’s identity card. A BSN is not required in such cases; it is sufficient to fill in, for example, the number of the person’s ID card or passport. For people from abroad who are staying in the Netherlands for study or work, for example, we recommend applying for a BSN in accordance with the applicable standards. More information can be found at The Hague BSN and registration as a non-resident of the Netherlands (RNI) (denhaag.nl).

A rapid test, actually referred to as an antigen test, is a stand-alone test that can be performed using a special cassette and is therefore very similar to the principle of a pregnancy test. The test we use is based on antigens (pieces of virus protein), which are detected in the sample by binding with a substance that makes these proteins visible by means of a stripe on the cassette. This process is very fast, but less accurate than a PCR test, because there must be enough virus protein in the sample to make it visible. There are also cassette tests on the market that look for antibodies in the blood. These tests are relatively inaccurate and do not indicate the presence of an active infection. We do not use these tests. The PCR test is a method in which any virus RNA present is extracted from the sample and then multiplied in the presence of a 'label'. During multiplication, our analysts can determine how much ‘label’ - i.e. virus material (RNA) - if any was present in the original sample and thus how much ‘virus’ a person is carrying at that time. The process of preparing the samples, extracting the RNA and multiplying it means the PCR takes longer than an antigen test.

Our tests meet the standards - very strict compared to other countries - set by the RIVM. The tests we use are approved and permitted in the Netherlands for this purpose and are the same as those used in many GGD test facilities.

The short answer to this question is - there is NO difference. The GGD tests are no different from the tests we use. However, to be tested at the GGD, a person must formally have symptoms that fit with a SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. The GGD does not issue a certificate either.

PCR COVID-19 test result

You will receive an email as soon as possible, but no later than within 48 hours, informing you that the results are available on our results website: results.howareyoudiagnostics.comIn connection with the source and contact investigation, the GGD will contact you if the result is positive or ‘indeterminate’.

After taking the test, you receive an email from us with your user name and a separate email with your password. Please also check your spam folder, and mark the sender as safe. You receive your user name again.

You will receive an email as soon as possible, within 48 hours, informing you that the results are available on our results website: results.howareyoudiagnostics.com.

When your result is ready, you can log in with your username and password to view your result.

Positive RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2
Your PCR has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which means that the diagnosis of COVID-19 has been confirmed. We have reported this finding to the GGD. They may contact you for a contact tracing investigation. For additional information, please visit the RIVM website (https://www.rivm.nl/coronavirus-covid-19/actueel).

Negative RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2
In your case, the PCR result for the novel Coronavirus is negative; this means that at this moment the diagnosis of COVID-19 is almost excluded. However, you may also be in the so-called incubation period, and the number of virus particles may still be low. Our advice is to repeat the test in 2 days’ time if COVID-19 is still suspected (see the RIVM website (https://www.rivm.nl/coronavirus-covid-19/actueel) for symptoms etc.).

Indeterminate RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2
In your case, the PCR result for the novel Coronavirus is not clear enough to draw any conclusions according to the RIVM guidelines. The values we found are too low to be judged as positive, but too high to be judged as negative. It may be that you are at an early stage or an end stage of the infection, which means that there is currently only a small amount of virus present in you. Our advice is to repeat this test at least two days later. Until you have received the result of a second test, please consider this first result as positive. We have reported this result to the GGD. They may contact you for a contact tracing investigation. For additional information, please visit the RIVM website (https://www.rivm.nl/coronavirus-covid-19/actueel).

The result is always a snapshot and does not protect you from infection. You could always become infected with the virus after testing.

You have to recuperate in isolation at home, as you may be contagious to others. Your housemates should also stay at home, as they may have been infected by you. This stops them from infecting others.

You may return from isolation when you have had no symptoms that fit COVID-19 for 24 hours and it has been at least 7 days since you became ill. Do you have a reduced immunity? Then you can only come out of isolation once you have had no symptoms that fit COVID-19 for 24 hours and it has been at least 14 days since you became ill. Also consult the RIVM website and follow its advice.

In the case of a negative result, you will receive a certificate, with which you can show that you have been tested negative, for example if you want to travel. You can open the certificate in the test result on our results page.

Click here to see an example of the certificate.

The process for performing the PCR test, from the moment it arrives at the laboratory, takes between 8 and 16 hours and it is often necessary to collect a certain amount of samples before the analysts can start the analysis. A large supply of samples can also cause a backlog at the laboratory. Our laboratory and the planning are organised in such a way that a result is given within 48 hours.

Performing a PCR test consists of a number of steps, which take a fixed amount of time. This process cannot be speeded up. The test takes up to 48 hours to be completed, so don’t wait until the last minute to have the test done. If you have had a test taken more than 48 hours ago and have not yet received the result, please contact us so that we can see if, in exceptional cases, we can find a solution together. HAY Diagnostics shall never be liable for any damage resulting from failure to deliver the results on time.

Self-sampling test general

A self-sampling test is not a self-test. The sample is taken by yourself using the materials provided and is then sent to our laboratory. From the moment your sample is received, the actual test takes place in exactly the same way as in a hospital laboratory. Its reliability therefore depends on how you collect the sample from yourself. We have enclosed instructions for this. If these instructions are not clear, we welcome feedback on them.

Do you have certain symptoms or have you had certain symptoms in the past? Then of course you would like to know what the problem is or was. For example, do you have or have you had a viral infection, a sexually transmitted disease or a vitamin deficiency? A properly verified or validated test can give you more clarity on this. This can be obtained from your local health care provider, such as your GP or the Municipal Health Service (GGD). You can also opt to use a self-sampling test. This is an option, for example, if you:

- prefer to remain anonymous;
- don't have the time to visit your healthcare provider;
- do not feel comfortable visiting your healthcare provider;
- are not helped by your healthcare provider; - want clarity quickly.

There is no link between the person who buys the tests and the person who ultimately uses them. You cannot create an account with us to order tests. We therefore do not know which test was ordered by whom, as we delete this data after a few days. When registering the test in our app, we will ask you to fill in at least some data that will enable us to communicate with you. This can, of course, also be ‘temporary’ data. As long as you can be reached. However, we do ask you to be as honest as possible about your age, usual place of residence and other non-personal information. We use this data anonymously in statistics, which can make an important contribution to public health. Because we do not record participant or address details, it is important to always mention the barcode of your test in correspondence when communicating about the results. If our physician-microbiologist encounters highly abnormal results, we will send you a request to contact us for advice. The physician-microbiologist may also contact you subsequently by telephone to give an explanation and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

Of course you can order tests for other people. However, participants who wish to receive feedback on the results must each create their own account.

These can be disposed of in the household waste. The sampling needles are made in such a way that they immediately retract when they have been used.

Have I had COVID-19? Self-sampling test

Not everyone who comes into contact with the novel coronavirus develops symptoms and falls ill. And not everyone goes to their GP or contacts the national number 0800-1202 to make an appointment for a test. This makes it difficult to estimate how many people are actually ill and how many have been infected. An antibody test can give a general impression of how many people have become infected, and help to track the spread of the virus.

When a person contracts a viral infection, the body puts its immune system into action. This immune system consists of various elements. One of these is the production of antibodies, referred to as the adaptive immune response. This means that the body reacts specifically to the virus and therefore needs some time to recognise the incoming virus as ‘foreign’. The other part of the immune system is the innate immune response; we all have it at birth and it always responds quickly to infection, but it is not so precise. In general, when the body encounters a virus for the first time, it also builds up a kind of memory. This means that when that person encounters the same virus for a second time, the body reacts appropriately, quickly renders the virus harmless and removes it.

In the case of the novel coronavirus, the adaptive immune response has yet to be built up and we do not yet know exactly how this adaptive immune system will behave. It may also be the case that after an infection, low antibody concentrations are sometimes measured, but that when there is a second infection with the coronavirus, these concentrations quickly rise and protect us. It is not yet clear whether this will also be the case with the novel coronavirus.

If someone gets the coronavirus on Infection Day 0, then after 7-14 days the person will produce antibodies of the IgM and IgA classes. The longer-lasting antibodies of the IgG class develop later. In other words, it is very important to know what stage of a COVID-19 infection someone is in. Early in the infection, only IgA antibodies are found, a little further on both IgA and IgG antibodies can be measured and much further on only IgG antibodies. How Are You Diagnostics does not know this data. For this reason, we always provide an explanation of the various interpretations of the results. It may also be the case that How Are You Diagnostics recommends a follow-up sample after 2 - 3 weeks in order to be able to demonstrate a possible development in the antibody levels.

The COVID-19 antibody test is a self-sampling test. You can take a blood sample from your fingertip by pricking it with a sampling needle, which you can do at home at a moment that suits you. Then send the sample in the enclosed return envelope to our laboratory via a freepost number. There, an ELISA test is used to determine whether you have produced IgA and IgG antibodies. When the antibody test is ready, you will be notified via the app and you can view the report.

If you want to know whether you have had a coronavirus infection (relatively recently or in the past), you can take the ‘have I had COVID-19’ test. You can also buy the test to see whether you have developed antibodies. Scientists do not yet know for sure whether the presence of antibodies actually protects against a new infection. Time will tell. The antibodies can be detected from 2-3 weeks after the start of the infection. It is therefore best to use the test after 14 days.

For the ‘have I had COVID-19’ test, the laboratory needs a certain amount of blood. About 45% of each blood sample consists of blood cells, which we do not use for the test. We perform the test on the liquid part of the blood, the serum. That is why we need to receive a certain amount of blood. If it does not work with a single prick of the finger, prick another finger with the other sampling needle provided.

At How Are You Diagnostics, we have examined how long samples remain usable. For this purpose, during a hot week in June, we left some blood samples outside the refrigerator and kept them at 27C. The results showed that the samples remain the same for at least 5 days. In other words, your blood sample will stay in good condition if the package is sent by PostNL. It should be noted, however, that it is better to collect and send it on a Monday or Tuesday so that there is no weekend in between.

It is generally assumed that if someone has IgG antibodies, he/she is protected against (immune from) a second infection with a virus. For coronavirus infections, this is not yet entirely clear and it has not yet been studied in large numbers of people. Scientific literature also refers to cellular immunity, which could be important in the immune response to the novel coronavirus.

This is not certain; IgA antibodies are generally produced early in mucosal infections of the respiratory tract such as coronavirus infections. Or, for example, with an infection such as glandular fever or tonsillitis. Proof of infection with coronavirus is provided by the detection of (particles of) the RNA of coronavirus by means of a polymerase chain reaction or by the cultivation of coronavirus in laboratories specially equipped for this purpose.

SARS-CoV-2 means Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. That is the scientific name for the novel coronavirus. Other coronaviruses already known are Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a coronavirus discovered in September 2012, and for example the coronaviruses 229E, OC43, NL63 and HKUI1. COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019; the syndrome caused by the virus. The year refers to the year the virus was first discovered in China.

Yes, of course you can go to your doctor with a result from How Are You Diagnostics. You can inform your doctor that we use the same test that is used in hospital laboratories.

Result of self-sampling test

For the majority of our tests, you can expect to receive the result in your app within 3 working days of your sample arriving in our laboratory. We will notify you as soon as these results are available.

For some tests, it can be worrying if you test positive. We always advise you on the next steps you can take based on your results. Of course, it is also possible to discuss this with our physician-microbiologist. You will need to have your test barcode and the results you received to hand, so that our physician-microbiologist can access your results. Of course, this conversation can take place anonymously.

Our systems are set up to carry out laboratory tests in complete anonymity. Based on the barcode on the vial, which is registered in our Laboratory Information System (LIS), we link the results. Our physician-microbiologist, who only has access to the ‘non-personally identifiable data’, evaluates and releases the results and links these results to the appropriate advice. Your data is stored in encrypted form in another database. This is necessary in order to be able to send you the package. Our system links the contact details to the barcode of the vial. It is not possible for us to ascertain which vial is linked to which participant. The result of the test is securely stored for you, the user, by means of an automatic process. You then receive a message that your results are ready. These can therefore only be viewed by you. Your data will be completely deleted from our laboratory information system 6 weeks after registration.

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