COVID-19 and PCR Testing

What’s a PCR test?
A polymerase chain response (PCR) test is performed to detect genetic material from a particular organism, reminiscent of a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus if you are contaminated at the time of the test. The test may also detect fragments of virus even after you might be no longer infected.

What’s a COVID-19 PCR test?
A PCR test for COVID-19 is a test used to analysis 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 standard” test for diagnosing COVID-19 because it’s probably the most accurate and reliable test.

Who should get tested for COVID-19?
Get tested:

If in case you have symptoms of COVID-19.
If in case you have been within six toes of someone for 15 minutes or more who has tested positive for Covid-19. (Note: some testing sites don’t offer testing if you happen to’ve been uncovered but don’t have symptoms.)
How does a COVID-19 PCR test work?
There are three key steps to the COVID-19 PCR test: 1) pattern assortment, 2) extraction, and 3) PCR.

Sample collection is finished utilizing a swab to gather respiratory material found in your nose. A swab contains a soft tip on a protracted, flexible stick that is inserted into your nose. There are different types of nose swabs together with nasal swabs that collect a sample instantly inside your nostrils and nasopharyngeal swabs that go additional into the nasal cavity for collection. Either type of swab is adequate for gathering 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 carry out a process called extraction, which isolates genetic material from the pattern together with genetic material from any virus that could be present.
The PCR step then makes use of special chemical compounds and a PCR machine, called a thermal cycler, which cause a response to happen that makes millions of copies of a small portion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic material. Throughout this process, one of the chemical compounds produces a fluorescent light if SARS-CoV-2 is current in the sample. This fluorescent light is a “signal” that is 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 imply?
A positive test consequence implies that it could be very likely that you’ve got COVID-19. Most individuals have gentle 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 end result means you probably did not have COVID-19 at the time you took your test. However, it is possible to be contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 but not have enough virus in your body to be detected by the test. For example, this might occur for those who recently grew to become infected however you don’t have symptoms, but; or it might 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 are safe for any size of time. You might be uncovered 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, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19. Read more about what to do if you test positive and ways to stop getting infected with COVID-19.

How quickly are outcomes of a COVID-19 PCR test available?
It is best to receive the results of your test as early as 24 hours after pattern assortment, but sometime it can take just a few days depending on long it takes the pattern to reach the laboratory and how many different samples are within the queue to be tested.

What are the advantages of a COVID-19 PCR test?
The principle 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 amounts of virus materials, it can continue to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2 virus even after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and are not contagious. So it’s possible you’ll proceed to test positive when you’ve got had COVID-19 within the distant previous, regardless that 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 two types of tests, diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Diagnostic tests inform you if you have an active (current) COVID-19 infection. Antibody tests inform you that you already had COVID-19.

Diagnostic tests:

PCR test: This tests for the presence of the particular 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 rapid, taking only 15 to 30 minutes but are less accurate than a PCR test. Fast 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 just isn’t 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 if you happen to’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 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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