COVID-19 and PCR Testing

What is a PCR test?

A polymerase chain response (PCR) test is performed to detect genetic materials from a selected organism, akin to a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus if you’re contaminated on the time of the test. The test might additionally detect fragments of virus even after you’re not infected.

What’s a COVID-19 PCR test?

A PCR test for COVID-19 is a test used to prognosis people who are at the moment infected with SARS-CoV-2, which is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The PCR test is the “gold standard” test for diagnosing COVID-19 because it’s essentially the most accurate and reliable test.

Who ought to get tested for COVID-19?

Get tested:

When you have signs of COVID-19.

When you’ve got been within six toes of somebody for 15 minutes or more who has tested positive for Covid-19. (Note: some testing sites don’t supply testing if you’ve been uncovered but don’t have symptoms.)

TEST DETAILS

How does a COVID-19 PCR test work?

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

Pattern collection is finished using a swab to collect respiratory material present in your nose. A swab accommodates a soft tip on a protracted, versatile stick that’s inserted into your nose. There are completely different types of nose swabs including nasal swabs that collect a pattern immediately inside your nostrils and nasopharyngeal swabs that go additional into the nasal cavity for collection. Either type of swab is adequate 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 sample, they carry out a process called extraction, which isolates genetic materials from the sample including genetic material from any virus that could be present.

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

RESULTS AND FOLLOW-UP

What do COVID-19 PCR test outcomes imply?

A positive test result implies that it could be very likely that you’ve COVID-19. Most individuals have mild sickness and can recover safely at home without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider if your signs worsen or when you have questions or concerns.

A negative test consequence means you probably did not have COVID-19 on the time you took your test. Nevertheless, it is possible to be contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 however not have sufficient virus in your body to be detected by the test. For example, this might occur should you not too long ago grew to become infected but you don’t have symptoms, but; or it might occur if you happen to’ve had COVID-19 for more than a week before being tested. Keep in mind that a negative test doesn’t imply you’re safe for any length of time. You could 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 yourself and others from getting COVID-19. Read more about what to do for those who test positive and ways to stop getting infected with COVID-19.

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

You need to receive the outcomes of your test as early as 24 hours after pattern assortment, but 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’s 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 material, it can proceed to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2 virus even after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer contagious. So chances are you’ll proceed to test positive if in case you have had COVID-19 within the distant past, regardless that you’ll be able to’t spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

How does the COVID-19 PCR test examine with different available COVID-19 tests?

Basically, there are types of tests, diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Diagnostic tests let you know you probably have an active (present) COVID-19 infection. Antibody tests inform you that you simply already had COVID-19.

Diagnostic tests:

PCR test: This tests for the presence of the actual 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 but are less accurate than a PCR test. Rapid antigen tests are most accurate when used within a number of days of the start of your symptoms, which is when the most important amount of virus is present in your body. Because this test is just not as accurate as a PCR test, if an antigen test is negative, your healthcare provider might order a PCR test to verify the negative test result.

Antibody test:

Antibody (serology) test: This tests detects if you’ve had an immune response (antibodies) to the virus. This implies that you’ve had the virus and your body (immune system, specifically antibodies) has mounted an attack to combat it. The test is detecting those antibodies. It typically takes a few week after being contaminated for enough 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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