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, reminiscent of a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus if you are infected on the time of the test. The test could additionally detect fragments of virus even after you’re no longer infected.

What’s a COVID-19 PCR test?

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

Who ought to get tested for COVID-19?

Get tested:

If in case you have symptoms of COVID-19.

When you’ve got 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 exposed 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 3) PCR.

Sample collection is finished utilizing a swab to gather respiratory material found in your nose. A swab accommodates a soft tip on an extended, versatile stick that’s inserted into your nose. There are different types of nose swabs together with nasal swabs that acquire a pattern immediately inside your nostrils and nasopharyngeal swabs that go additional into the nasal cavity for collection. Either type of swab is enough for accumulating material 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 carry out a process called extraction, which isolates genetic material from the sample including 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 response to occur 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 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 outcomes mean?

A positive test result implies that it could be very likely that you’ve COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and may recover safely at residence 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 didn’t have COVID-19 at the time you took your test. Nonetheless, it is possible to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 however not have sufficient virus in your body to be detected by the test. For example, this may happen in case you lately grew to become infected however you don’t have symptoms, but; or it may 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 might be safe for any size of time. You might 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, keep dwelling and separate your self 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 should you test positive and ways to forestall getting contaminated with COVID-19.

How quickly are outcomes of a COVID-19 PCR test available?

You should receive the outcomes of your test as early as 24 hours after pattern collection, but someday it can take a few days relying on lengthy it takes the pattern to achieve the laboratory and what number of other 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 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 you have had COVID-19 in the distant past, though 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 other available COVID-19 tests?

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

Diagnostic tests:

PCR test: This tests for the presence of the actual virus’s genetic materials or its fragments as it breaks down. This is probably 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. Rapid antigen tests are most accurate when used within a few 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 could order a PCR test to verify the negative test result.

Antibody test:

Antibody (serology) test: This tests detects when you’ve had an immune response (antibodies) to the virus. This means that you’ve had the virus and your body (immune system, specifically antibodies) has mounted an attack to fight it. The test is detecting these antibodies. It typically takes a few week after being infected 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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