Voyage Medical

How Do COVID 19 PCR Tests Work?

In order to control the spread of COVID-19, testing is crucial. The COVID-19 PCR test has a high level of accuracy. In a sample, they produce several copies of the virus’ genetic material. This enables the test to find extremely little amounts of virus. A modified form of PCR known as the quantitative polymerase chain reaction is used for COVID-19 testing (qPCR). In order to assess the amount of genetic material in a sample, this technique incorporates fluorescent dyes into the PCR process. Here, healthcare professionals count the genetic material from SARS-CoV-2. 

Using a nasal swab or saliva tube, healthcare professionals gather samples to be tested before moving on to the next step. The pathogen that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, employs RNA as its genetic material. Reverse transcription, which transforms the PCR from single-stranded RNA to double-stranded DNA, comes first. Then, the two strands of the DNA template are split apart. When the DNA in the sample matches the SARS-CoV-2 primers and the pattern is amplified, producing millions of copies, a positive result is obtained. This shows that the sample is from an infected person. It is unlikely that a sample will test positive if viral RNA is not present because the primers only amplify the genetic material from the virus. A false positive is what is known if it does. A negative result is obtained when there is no amplification and the SARS-CoV-2 primers do not match the genetic makeup of the sample. This indicates that there were no viruses in the sample. When a person is affected but the sample has insufficient viral genetic material for the PCR test to identify it, a false negative result is produced. 

You can find out if you’ve ever been infected with the virus that caused COVID-19 by having tests for antibodies. Your body produces antibodies after contracting SARS-CoV-2 or after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. These exams are known as “serology” or “antibody” testing. For the purpose of halting the spread of COVID-19, testing is crucial. Your healthcare provider and you should always talk about the results of your tests.

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