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Is there a specific COVID-19 test for the delta variant? What you need to know

The delta variant is surging. Is there a specific test for it?

Agustin Cortez and Luis Cortez wait to get a COVID-19 test.
Agustin Cortez, 13, and his uncle, Luis Cortez, wait to get a COVID-19 test for Agustin on Thursday, July 15, 2021, in North Miami, Fla. Is there a COVID-19 test for the delta variant?
Marta Lavandier, Associated Press

The delta variant of the coronavirus has been surging through the United States as of late, leading to an uptick of cases after a calm past few months.

With such a dramatic shift, there might be some people — fully vaccinated or unvaccinated — seeking out COVID-19 tests. But is there a COVID-19 test for the delta variant?

Is there a delta variant COVID-19 test?

Current COVID-19 tests can’t always detect the delta variant. The delta variant “carries distinctive biological markers that some among the dozens of commercially available COVID tests from academic institutes and medical giants may not be able to sense,” according to Fortune.

If you’re really interested in knowing if you have the delta variant, you may want try out the polymerase chain reaction testing platforms, which looks at the genetic variations within the virus to determine its strains.

  • However, that test can take longer than a rapid test, which often takes about 30 minutes. PCR tests can take a few days to get the results and include some biological details about the virus you’re infected with.
  • “Those faster diagnostics may be able to sense whether or not you’re generally infected with COVID, but not necessarily whether it’s the delta strain specifically that’s afflicting you,” according to Fortune.

Avacta, a medical firm, has been building a test to detect the delta variant. And the U.K. seems to be building technology to keep an eye on the delta variant through specific tests.

How do officials discover the variants, then?

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can look at specific cases of the coronavirus through genetic sequencing. But there isn’t a specific test that will tell you if you have the delta variant.

  • According to the CDC, sequenced cases are COVID-19 cases that the CDC has examined to review their genetic makeup and code. This is how variants of the virus are often discovered.

How to find a rapid COVID-19 test

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a tool that will help you find a coronavirus test near you.

Rise of delta COVID-19 variant

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said Tuesday that the delta variant of the novel coronavirus now accounts for more than 83% of all sequenced COVID-19 cases — a sign that the variant is spreading far and wide throughout the country.

  • “This is a dramatic increase from up from 50%, the week of July 3,” Walensky said Tuesday, according to CNBC.