COVID-19 and PCR Testing

What’s a PCR test?

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is carried out to detect genetic materials from a particular organism, such as a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus in case you are infected at the time of the test. The test might additionally detect fragments of virus even after you might be no longer infected.

What is a COVID-19 PCR test?

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

Who ought to get tested for COVID-19?

Get tested:

You probably have signs of COVID-19.

You probably have been within six toes of somebody for 15 minutes or more who has tested positive for Covid-19. (Note: some testing sites don’t offer testing in the event you’ve been exposed however 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) pattern collection, 2) extraction, and 3) PCR.

Pattern collection is finished utilizing a swab to gather respiratory materials present in your nose. A swab comprises a soft tip on a long, versatile stick that is inserted into your nose. There are different types of nostril swabs including nasal swabs that gather a sample immediately inside your nostrils and nasopharyngeal swabs that go further into the nasal cavity for collection. Either type of swab is adequate for amassing material for the COVID-19 PCR test. After assortment, 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 material from the pattern together with genetic materials from any virus that could be present.

The PCR step then uses particular chemical substances and a PCR machine, called a thermal cycler, which cause a reaction 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 many chemical substances 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.

RESULTS AND FOLLOW-UP

What do COVID-19 PCR test results imply?

A positive test end result means that it is very likely that you have COVID-19. Most people have delicate illness and can recover safely at residence without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider in case your symptoms 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. Nonetheless, it is feasible to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 but not have sufficient virus in your body to be detected by the test. For example, this could occur in case you not too long ago became contaminated however you don’t have signs, yet; or it may happen 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 mean you might be safe for any length of time. You could be uncovered to COVID-19 after your test, get contaminated and spread the SARS-Cov-2 virus to others.

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

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

You need to receive the results of your test as early as 24 hours after pattern assortment, but someday it can take a few days depending on lengthy it takes the sample to reach the laboratory and what number of different samples are within the queue to be tested.

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

The main 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 amounts 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 it’s possible you’ll proceed to test positive when you’ve got had COVID-19 in the distant previous, despite the fact that you possibly can’t spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

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

Basically, there are types of tests, diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Diagnostic tests inform you you probably have an active (present) COVID-19 infection. Antibody tests tell 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 essentially 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 signs, 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 may order a PCR test to verify the negative test result.

Antibody test:

Antibody (serology) test: This tests detects for those who’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 battle it. The test is detecting those antibodies. It typically takes a couple of week after being infected 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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