A PCR test is an accurate and reliable test for diagnosing COVID-19.
The PCR test also known as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is carried out to detect genetic material from a certain organism (or virus).
This test reveals the presence of the coronavirus in an infected individual at the time the test is being carried out.
How does the PCR test work?
The three steps for carrying out the COVID-19 PCR test include sample collection, extraction of sample, and PCR.
The sample collection is carried out using a swab which collects respiratory material found in the patient’s nose. The swab for this process contains a soft tip on a long, flexible stick that is inserted into the patient’s nose. The different types of nose swabs include nasal swabs for the collection of samples immediately and nasopharyngeal swabs which go into the nasal cavity for collection. These two swabs are sufficient for collecting material for the COVID-19 PCR test. After collection, the swab is sealed and then sent to a laboratory.
After a sample has been received by the laboratory technologist, he/she would perform a process called extraction. This process isolates genetic material from the sample, especially genetic material from any virus that may be present.
After extraction, then comes the PCR step. The PCR step involves the use of special chemicals and a PCR machine, called a thermal cycler, which causes a reaction that makes millions of copies of a small portion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic material. During this procedure, one of the chemicals produces a fluorescent light if SARS-CoV-2 is present in the sample and special software is used to interpret the signal as a positive test result.
Who should get tested for COVID-19?
- You should get tested if you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
- You should get tested if you have been within six feet for 15 minutes or more with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. (Note: many testing sites would not offer testing if you’ve been exposed but don’t have symptoms.)
How soon can you get results for a COVID-19 PCR test?
You should receive the results of your test as early as 24 hours after sample collection. However, please note that sometimes it may take a few days depending on how long it took your sample to reach the laboratory and how many other samples are in the queue to be tested.
Can I travel to the UK after carrying out the PCR test?
Yes, you can. However, you would need the UK Arrival Coronavirus trust. This test result comes signed by an authorized doctor and would be used for travelling purposes with airlines. Clients buying this package will be swabbed by a healthcare professional at our facility the same day.
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How can the COVID-19 PCR test results be interpreted?
A positive test result implies that you have contracted COVID-19 while a negative test result means you possibly didn’t have COVID-19 at the time you took your test. However, ensure you carry out all necessary measures to keep it this way.
If your test is positive, talk to a healthcare provider, stay home and isolate yourself from others.
Where can I book a COVID-19 Test?
Our specialists at our Leicester clinic are available to help you carry out your Covid-19 test.