COVID-19 and PCR Testing

What’s a PCR test?

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is carried out to detect genetic material from a specific organism, similar to a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus in case you are contaminated on the time of the test. The test could also detect fragments of virus even after you are now not infected.

What’s a COVID-19 PCR test?

A PCR test for COVID-19 is a test used to analysis people who find themselves presently contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, which is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The PCR test is the “gold commonplace” test for diagnosing COVID-19 because it’s the most accurate and reliable test.

Who should get tested for COVID-19?

Get tested:

When you have signs of COVID-19.

If in case you have been within six ft of somebody for quarter-hour or more who has tested positive for Covid-19. (Note: some testing sites don’t offer testing in case you’ve been uncovered however don’t have symptoms.)


How does a COVID-19 PCR test work?

There are three key steps to the COVID-19 PCR test: 1) sample collection, 2) extraction, and three) PCR.

Sample assortment is completed utilizing a swab to gather respiratory material found in your nose. A swab incorporates a soft tip on a protracted, versatile stick that is inserted into your nose. There are completely different types of nostril swabs including nasal swabs that gather a sample instantly inside your nostrils and nasopharyngeal swabs that go further into the nasal cavity for collection. Either type of swab is enough for accumulating materials for the COVID-19 PCR test. After collection, the swab is sealed in a tube and then sent to a laboratory.

When a laboratory technologist receives the pattern, they perform a process called extraction, which isolates genetic material from the pattern together with genetic materials from any virus that may be present.

The PCR step then makes use of particular chemical substances and a PCR machine, called a thermal cycler, which cause a response to occur that makes thousands and thousands of copies of a small portion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic material. Throughout this process, one of the chemicals produces a fluorescent light if SARS-CoV-2 is current within the sample. This fluorescent light is a “signal” that’s detected by the PCR machine and particular software is used to interpret the signal as a positive test result.


What do COVID-19 PCR test results mean?

A positive test outcome means that it is very likely that you’ve COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and might recover safely at house without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider in case your symptoms get worse or if you have questions or concerns.

A negative test consequence means you probably did not have COVID-19 at the time you took your test. Nonetheless, it is feasible to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 but not have enough virus in your body to be detected by the test. For example, this could occur should you just lately became infected but you don’t have signs, but; or it may occur in the event you’ve had COVID-19 for more than a week earlier than being tested. Keep in mind that a negative test doesn’t imply you are safe for any size of time. You can be exposed to COVID-19 after your test, get infected and spread the SARS-Cov-2 virus to others.

In case your test is positive, talk with your healthcare provider, keep house and separate yourself from others. If your test is negative, proceed to take steps to protect your self and others from getting COVID-19. Read more about what to do when you test positive and ways to prevent getting infected with COVID-19.

How soon are results of a COVID-19 PCR test available?

You must obtain the results of your test as early as 24 hours after pattern collection, however sometime it can take a few days depending on lengthy it takes the pattern to reach the laboratory and how many different samples are in the queue to be tested.

What are the advantages of a COVID-19 PCR test?

The primary advantages of COVID-19 PCR test are its accuracy and reliability. It is the most accurate test available for COVID-19 detection.

Are there downsides to a COVID-19 PCR test?

Because the test is able to detect very small quantities of virus materials, it can continue to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2 virus even after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and are now not contagious. So you could proceed to test positive when you have had COVID-19 within the distant past, although you possibly can’t spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.


How does the COVID-19 PCR test compare with other available COVID-19 tests?

Basically, there are types of tests, diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Diagnostic tests tell you if in case you have an active (current) COVID-19 infection. Antibody tests tell you that you just already had COVID-19.

Diagnostic tests:

PCR test: This tests for the presence of the particular virus’s genetic material or its fragments as it breaks down. This is the most reliable and accurate test for detecting active infection.

Antigen test: This test detects bits of proteins on the surface of the virus called antigens. Antigen tests are typically considered fast, taking only 15 to half-hour however are less accurate than a PCR test. Speedy antigen tests are most accurate when used within a number of days of the start of your symptoms, which is when the largest quantity of virus is current in your body. Because this test is just not as accurate as a PCR test, if an antigen test is negative, your healthcare provider could order a PCR test to confirm the negative test result.

Antibody test:

Antibody (serology) test: This tests detects when you’ve had an immune response (antibodies) to the virus. This signifies that you’ve had the virus and your body (immune system, specifically antibodies) has mounted an attack to fight it. The test is detecting those antibodies. It typically takes a few week after being contaminated for sufficient antibodies to develop to be detected in your blood. For this reason, this test shouldn’t be used to diagnose an active infection.

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