COVID-19 and PCR Testing

What is a PCR test?
A polymerase chain response (PCR) test is carried out to detect genetic materials from a particular organism, corresponding to a virus. The test detects the presence of a virus in case you are contaminated on the time of the test. The test might additionally detect fragments of virus even after you might be not infected.

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

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

You probably have signs of COVID-19.
When you’ve got been within six feet of somebody for quarter-hour or more who has tested positive for Covid-19. (Note: some testing sites don’t provide testing if you’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 assortment is done utilizing a swab to gather respiratory material found in your nose. A swab contains a soft tip on an extended, versatile stick that’s inserted into your nose. There are different types of nose swabs including nasal swabs that collect 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 collecting 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 perform a process called extraction, which isolates genetic material from the sample including genetic material from any virus which may be present.
The PCR step then makes use of particular chemicals 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. Throughout this process, one of the chemicals produces a fluorescent light if SARS-CoV-2 is present within 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 mean?
A positive test end result implies that it is very likely that you have COVID-19. Most individuals have gentle illness and might recover safely at dwelling without medical care. Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen or if in case you have questions or concerns.

A negative test result means you probably didn’t 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 may happen should you just lately grew to become contaminated however you don’t have signs, but; or it could happen in case you’ve had COVID-19 for more than a week earlier than being tested. Keep in mind that a negative test doesn’t imply you might be safe for any length of time. You will be uncovered to COVID-19 after your test, get infected 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. 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 in case you test positive and ways to forestall getting contaminated with COVID-19.

How soon are results of a COVID-19 PCR test available?
You should obtain the results of your test as early as 24 hours after pattern collection, but someday it can take a couple of days relying on long it takes the sample to succeed in the laboratory and what number of other 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’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 continue to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2 virus even after you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and are not contagious. So you might proceed to test positive if you have had COVID-19 within the distant previous, although you can’t spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.

How does the COVID-19 PCR test compare with different available COVID-19 tests?
Basically, there are two types of tests, diagnostic tests and antibody tests. Diagnostic tests inform you you probably have an active (current) COVID-19 infection. Antibody tests let you know that you just 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 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 however are less accurate than a PCR test. Speedy antigen tests are most accurate when used within a couple of days of the start of your symptoms, which is when the biggest amount of virus is current in your body. Because this test just isn’t 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 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 battle it. The test is detecting those antibodies. It typically takes about a 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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