At present, we are in the phase of ‘returning to New Normal’! We are re-establishing our normal life and work life again progressively. Recently, the key concern of the society becomes whether a person around is infected or not with COVID-19 infection. This makes the RT-PCR test so popular in every part of the world as it can determine efficiently whether an individual is infected or not with SARS-CoV-2.
Then only there is a probability of developing Novel Corona virus also known as COVID-19. Although a number of test methods are available there for the detection of COVID-19, in this blog we will learn what makes RT-PCR test so preferable and reliable amongst them.
Molecular or PCR tests
As the name suggests, PCR test detects the genetic material (RNA) of the virus via analysing the collected swab sample from the individual’s respiratory duct. Till date, it is highly recommended diagnosing procedure of COVID-19 by the leading medical organisations such as FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and WHO (World Health Organisation). It simply delivers 100% accurate report if done at the certified laboratory by an expert pathologist.
How PCR test works?
Basically, the test procedure commences by collecting the swab sample from throat or nose. If it can be analysed in the same place it can deliver the report within a few minutes. Actually the sample is dispersed in a liquid acidic solution and heated at high temperature (132.8o F / 56o C).
As a result the viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2 breaks down and amplified into detectable viral DBA strains. If it is one by an expert in the proper way then molecular test offers accurate test report.
Antigen and Antibody testing ‘Rapid Tests’: What’s about their efficiency?
In contrary to RT-PCR test, both of these tests are less efficient. They only detect the antibodies in blood. However, it never confirms that you are infected with this virus at present. It only states that the immune response has been developed in your body. This detection is performed in two ways.
Firstly in the serological way in which the collected blood sample is analysed at the laboratory. You can obtain its result within 12-24 hours. Another one is rapid test in which a drop of blood is used as the sample and it is not processed in the laboratory.
That’s why you can acquire instant report stating whether there is presence of IgG and IgM antibodies or not! But they can’t be able to identify the viral infection in its initial stage and often comes out as negative during the first couple of days of observing suspicious symptoms. It means they possess a great false negativity rate.
Due to their low specificity, these are not used for diagnosing COVID-19 infection at present.
What to do if a person has to do COVID-19 PCR test?
If you suspect an exposure then look for a clinic of PCR test near you online where you can make an appointment and get tested. Before that, it is advisable to consult with the doctor whether you need the test or not! Remember to share the signs or symptoms you are experiencing (if any).
What happens if the sample comes positive for the COVID-19 PCR test?
In case you are being identified as COVID-19-infected then it makes the clear indication that the virus is there in your body. All you have to do then is to keep an eye on the gradual development of the clinical symptoms and signs. Other necessary steps you have to take are mentioned below for your reference. Remember these will break the chain of spreading the virus from you:
- Get in touch with the doctor for proper treatment
- Strictly adhere to the quarantine norms and stay home isolated (avoid going out except for medical attention)
- Follow the social distancing principle with the other family members of your home
- Frequently wash the hands
- Mouth and nose should be covered during sneezing and speaking
- Common surfaces should be disinfected and cleaned frequently such as water faucets, door knobs, tables, kitchen tops and telephones and so on
If the RT-PCR test comes as negative, it means that you are free from SARS-CoV-2 infection and no RNA of the virus is there in your body. But it doesn’t represent ruling out of the virus completely and so it can’t be used for diagnosing and treating the patient with COVID-19.
It is so; because it never rules out you from the probability of getting infected with the virus in the future. Whenever the test report comes negative, it should be reviewed on the basis of the recent exposure of the patient to the virus. Hence, other potential clinical symptoms and signs of the virus should be observed as well in the patient.
Accordingly the report must be confirmed considering the clinical presentation of the symptoms or current exposure to the virus. To eradicate the possibility of false negative report, it is suggested to undergo the test on 9-10th day after exposure. Yet it is essential for strictly following the guidelines such as use of facial mask, surface disinfectant, frequent hand washing and maintaining social distancing norms.
How transmission takes place for COVID-19?
Any healthy person gets infected by coming in contact to any other infected person with COVID-19. It gets easily transmitted from a person to another via droplets from mouth or nose which emit during speaking, sneezing and coughing.
Despite of negative or positive report of COVID- 19 PCR test in London, it must be remembered that one should follow the preventive measures. It will ensure your good health while keeping the people around you healthy simultaneously.