COVID-19 and PCR Testing

What’s a PCR test?
A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism, similar to a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus if you are contaminated on the time of the test. The test might 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 prognosis people who are at the moment contaminated 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:

If you have signs of COVID-19.
You probably have been within six ft of somebody for 15 minutes or more who has tested positive for Covid-19. (Note: some testing sites don’t supply testing for those who’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 collection, 2) extraction, and 3) PCR.

Sample collection is completed utilizing a swab to gather respiratory material found in your nose. A swab incorporates a soft tip on an extended, flexible stick that’s inserted into your nose. There are completely different types of nose swabs together with nasal swabs that accumulate a sample immediately inside your nostrils and nasopharyngeal swabs that go additional into the nasal cavity for collection. Either type of swab is enough for amassing material for the COVID-19 PCR test. After assortment, the swab is sealed in a tube and then despatched to a laboratory.
When a laboratory technologist receives the sample, they carry out a process called extraction, which isolates genetic materials from the sample together with genetic materials from any virus that could 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 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 present in the sample. This fluorescent light is a “signal” that’s detected by the PCR machine and special 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 people have mild illness and might recover safely at residence without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse or if in case you have questions or concerns.

A negative test outcome means you probably didn’t have COVID-19 at the time you took your test. Nevertheless, it is feasible to be contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 but not have enough virus in your body to be detected by the test. For instance, this may occur if you just lately turned infected however you don’t have symptoms, but; or it could happen in case you’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 may be uncovered to COVID-19 after your test, get contaminated and spread the SARS-Cov-2 virus to others.

If your test is positive, talk with your healthcare provider, stay house and separate yourself from others. In case your test is negative, proceed to take steps to protect yourself 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 soon are outcomes of a COVID-19 PCR test available?
You should receive the outcomes of your test as early as 24 hours after sample collection, however sometime it can take a few days relying on long it takes the pattern to succeed in 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 amounts of virus materials, it can proceed to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2 virus even after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and are not contagious. So you may proceed to test positive if you have had COVID-19 in the distant past, despite the fact that you can’t spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.

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 when you’ve got an active (present) COVID-19 infection. Antibody tests inform 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 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 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 signs, which is when the largest amount of virus is current in your body. Because this test isn’t as accurate as a PCR test, if an antigen test is negative, your healthcare provider could order a PCR test to substantiate the negative test result.
Antibody test:

Antibody (serology) test: This tests detects should 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 struggle it. The test is detecting these antibodies. It typically takes about a 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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