Posted on June 1st, 2023
Rapid PCR tests are one of the most accurate and reliable ways to detect coronavirus (COVID-19). It is a process that involves using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology to detect the presence of genetic material from the virus. Rapid PCR tests can identify the presence of COVID-19 within minutes, making it an invaluable tool for healthcare professionals who need quick results.
This blog post will detail rapid PCR testing, how it works, and its advantages and disadvantages. We’ll also talk about why it’s important for quick diagnoses of coronavirus infections. Read on to learn more about rapid PCR tests and their role in combating the pandemic.
What is a PCR Test?
It is a test that uses the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for detection of a specific nucleic acid sequence in a sample. PCR is a very sensitive technique that can amplify small amounts of DNA or RNA. This makes it useful for diagnostic applications, such as detecting the presence of a specific virus in a patient’s sample.
PCR test has a value of golden standard in SARS-CoV-2 detection. This test detects RNA (or genetic material) specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those with no symptoms. The test can be done in a clinic, hospital, or car. Turnaround time is longer, generally in the 2-3 days range, but results can be in as little as 24 hours. When demand is high, results can take a week or longer.
How does it work?
Rapid PCR tests amplify small pieces of genetic material from a sample, usually obtained from a nasopharyngeal swab. The amplification process is completed in around an hour, and a special machine then reads the results.
Rapid PCR tests have two main types: real-time PCR and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). Real-time PCR tests are more accurate, but LAMP tests are faster and easier to use.
A sample is first heated to release the DNA to carry out a real-time PCR test. Then, specific primers (short pieces of DNA) are added that will bind to the target sequence. The mixture is then placed in a thermal cycler, which heats and cools the mixture to allow the primer-DNA binding reaction.
The thermal cycler also contains a fluorescent dye that binds to the newly formed DNA strands. As the reaction progresses, more and more strands are formed, and the fluorescence increases. By measuring the amount of fluorescence at different points in time, it is possible to calculate how much target DNA was present in the original sample.
LAMP tests work similarly to real-time PCR tests, but they do not require a thermal cycler. Instead, all reaction components are mixed and incubated at a constant temperature (usually around 60°C). The primers used in LAMP tests are also different.
What are the benefits of a PCR Test?
A PCR test can be used to diagnose a variety of infections, including COVID-19. It is a fast method to test for the detection of pathogens an virus in a body fluid sample. PCR tests are highly sensitive and can detect even small amounts of genetic material. They are also relatively easy to perform and can be done in various settings, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and laboratories.
What are the risks of a PCR Test?
There are a few risks associated with PCR testing, the most common being false positives and negatives. False positives can occur when the test incorrectly detects the presence of the virus, while false negatives can occur when the test fails to detect the virus. There is also a small risk of infection associated with the test, as it involves inserting a swab into the nose or mouth. However, this risk is minimal and can be avoided by following proper procedures.
How to get a PCR Test?
If you are exposed to the coronavirus or are experiencing symptoms, you may want to get a PCR test. PCR tests can be performed at your doctor’s office, clinics, or hospitals. Many commercial laboratories also offer PCR testing.
When getting a PCR test, a healthcare provider will take a swab of your nose or throat. In the laboratory, swab will be tested for the presence of the coronavirus. Results from PCR tests are usually available within one to two days, although some laboratories may take longer.
If you got a positive PCR test result, you are currently infected with the coronavirus. You should self-isolate and contact your local health department for guidance on how to proceed.
If you a got negative PCR test result, you do not currently have the coronavirus. However, this does not mean you cannot become infected in the future. It is still important to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
Visit Express Care Urgent Care
Our Rapid PCR tests provide a reliable, fast way to diagnose coronavirus infections. They can be used in the hospital and at home with greater accuracy than other tests. With their combination of sensitivity and quick results, they are becoming an increasingly important tool for quickly detecting and managing outbreaks. Although rapid PCR tests have some limitations, such as the need for specialized equipment and trained personnel, they offer great potential for helping to control the pandemic.
Schedule an appointment or inquire about our services at Express Care Urgent Care. Our team is dedicated to providing you with high-quality healthcare and exceptional patient care.