PCR Tests for Coronavirus: Everything You Need to Know

In the struggle to track and defeat coronavirus, world health institutions have authorized multiple tests for clinics to perform on potential victims of the Covid-19 infection. One of those tests is PCR, along with antigen tests and antibodies test.

PCR, also known as polymerase chain reaction, is a test that looks for Covid-19 right where it is supposed to be hidden. It is supposed to be the most accurate Covid-19 test; thus, it is the most recommended and people have been appointing for it commonly ever since the WHO first declared the pandemic.

The PCR test is done through your nasal fluid and detects the fragments of virus in the fluid compound. Even if you don’t have the virus present but has previously been affected by it, the PCR test would also find it. That is one of the reasons why PCR test is also known as the “gold standard” test.

In the test process, a tester would put a cotton swab through your nostril and reach it far up your nose bone and nasal pharyngeal area. That is the point where your sinuses meet the throat. One of the most common symptoms of Covid-19 is running nose and cough. These symptoms are caused because coronavirus initially takes place in your nasal pharyngeal area and lays its foundation in that place. From there, it spreads into your whole body, causing other symptoms, such as fever, headache, and respiratory problems.

In PCR test, the tester swirls the cotton swab in your nasal pharyngeal area and collects the specimen of nasal fluid. After that, these specimens go into the clinical laboratory and are placed in the thermal cycler, which breaks the compound of fluid and makes millions of tiny little portions. These portions are then checked for SARS-Covd-2 genetic material. The chemicals are put under the fluorescent light, which provides the visual confirmation of the viral particles. The special software is then used to show the graphical representation of positive and negative verdict.

Since PCR tests are done through high-tech laboratory equipment and software, they are relatively expensive. However, experts have said that even though the PCR test detects the presence of the virus through compound breaking, it still doesn’t tell if the virus is contagious or not.

The result of PCR test usually comes in 48 hours or more, depending on the severity of the virus present.

If you are looking for a less expensive option, antigen test is another option. Antigen tests are done through a similar process, but provide the results only in 15 minutes, that is why they are called a “rapid test.” However, antigen tests are less reliable and less accurate. Health officials have authorized antigen tests for patients who have a larger spread of the virus in nose, so it can be detected without nasal swab reaching to the nasal pharyngeal area.

If you haven’t had tested yet for coronavirus, get your appointment scheduled right now for a free 15-minute Covid test.

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