The need for quick, accessible testing for the presence of the COVID-19 virus has been increasingly apparent in recent months. Tests can be divided into two types, each of which uses a different type of sample. Here, we look at the several tests that can be used to determine if a patient is infected with COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a lethal virus that has been sweeping across the populace in recent years. COVID-19 is difficult to diagnose because it has many symptoms with other viruses, however, PCR is one approach to screen for it (polymerase chain reaction). We’ll look at how PCR works and why it’s crucial in diagnosis in this piece.
Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1983 for his work on DNA sequencing, devised PCR. It enables scientists to repeatedly duplicate certain regions of DNA in order to obtain enough copies to determine the type of virus or bacteria present in a sample. This approach consists of two steps: a first phase in which you heat your sample to separate the components, followed by a second step in which you cool it down.
This method begins by heating your sample, which separates all of the components so that their molecular weights may be used to identify them. Following the identification of these compounds, there are several varieties — some of which may require cooling after separation — before we begin separating again!
- What Are the Different Types of COVID-19 Tests?
- The PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction); testis forwarded to the lab for diagnosis. Because it is the most accurate and reliable test for identifying COVID-19, the PCR test is known as the “gold standard.”
- The LFT (Lateral Flow Test); can identify COVID-19 on the spot, although it isn’t as accurate as the PCR test.
- Antibody tests; can’t tell you if you have an active infection, but they can tell you if you’ve had it before and/or if you’re immune to COVID-19.
- What Is The Importance Of A PCR Test?
A PCR test is one of the most frequent ways to assess genetic material from an organism, and it can be utilized in a range of situations. The test is particularly effective because high heat causes a virus’s or bacteria’s DNA to break down, and the enzyme that causes this breakdown may be identified. This test works by heating small volumes of liquid containing viruses or bacteria until enzymes that break down DNA are triggered. These then multiply exponentially in 30-second cycles at 94 degrees Celsius, followed by a minute at 72 degrees Celsius for elongation. This process will continue for as long as it is required. When done properly, it breaks down all molecules into their base components so they become visible under UV light.
- The Following Are Some Of The Reasons Why You Should Be Tested:
- If you’ve had COVID-19 symptoms.
- If you’ve been around someone who has tested positive for more than 15-20 minutes.
- After the PCR test, the following results are available: In as little as 24 hours
- The following are some of the benefits of PCR testing: COVID-19 detection that is the most accurate and dependable.
- What Makes PCR Tests So Important?
The presence of viral RNA, which shows that a person has been infected with the virus, is detected using PCR assays. This is particularly useful in catching the virus before symptoms arise since it informs doctors that a patient has the virus and that treatment may begin right away.
Dr. Edward Wright, a senior lecturer in microbiology at the University of Sussex, feels PCR is a useful instrument. “You can isolate the infected person and quarantine others to avoid future infection by testing them for the virus. Any time you can break the chain of transmission, you’re helping to stop the disease from spreading.”
- Why Are PCR Tests Referred To As The “Gold Standard”?
The use of PCR testing to detect viral infections is a valuable technique. However, depending on the amount of viral DNA present in the sample, the detection of certain viral targets may vary. To stay up with the virus, researchers are continually monitoring the emergence of new strains and will continue to create new assays.
- What Do the Different Types of PCR Tests Mean?
Positive: You almost certainly have COVID-19. COVID-19 is a highly infectious virus that spreads by saliva, blood, and other bodily fluids. Fever and muscle aches are common symptoms, although severe symptoms are uncommon. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor right away for treatment!
Negative: For many folks, not having COVID-19 isn’t a major deal. According to the CDC, about 2% of the population has been infected with this virus, therefore you should be checked just in case!
If you are exposed to someone who is sick or has symptoms like coughing, sore throat, or congestion while still carrying the COVID-19 virus, your body may be able to fight off these illnesses while still harboring the COVID-19 virus. Even if none of those symptoms appear, early detection allows you to seek medical help immediately away.
When you think about it, the virus could not always be identifiable by your standard test.
When a person is diagnosed with an illness or virus, their immune system may be too weak to create antibodies that can be detected with a standard blood test. They may have been infected for months or even years before being tested again, but physicians won’t know until someone informs them – which isn’t often easy. Remember that a negative result does not rule out the possibility of infection.
If you test positive, see your doctor, stay at home, and avoid social situations. Continue to take care and stay safe if you test negative.