PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19 detection. PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction, which is a lab technique that produces millions of copies of a specific DNA sequence quickly. The COVID-19 test is a molecular test which means it detects genetic material, the RNA that is specific to the virus. The PCR tests are sensitive enough to only need a very tiny amount of the RNA. It can detect the virus within days of infection, even in those that are asymptomatic.
The test is conducted by first collecting a fluid sample by inserting a nasal swab into the patient’s nostril and taking fluid from the nose, or inserting a swab into the back of the throat. At the lab, this sample is then processed so the RNA is isolated and collected, everything else is removed. Then the RNA is mixed with other ingredients such as enzymes, DNA building blocks, cofactors, probes and primers which recognize and bind to SARS-CoV-2. Then the viral RNA is changed to a DNA copy and then that single copy is converted into millions of copies using PCR. If SARS-CoV-2 complementary DNA is present in the sample, the primers can copy the target regions and as they copy these regions the probes stuck to these new fragments release a visual sign that can be read by the instrument to get a positive result. When the probes do not stick then there is no signal release and it is a negative result.
Results may be available quickly if analyzed onsite, or a few days (or longer in locations with test processing delays, if sent to an outside lab). PCR tests are very accurate when performed by a healthcare professional, and usually take place at a hospital, clinic or even from your car.
Our COVID-19 genesig® Real Time PCR assay is more precise than other PCR tests, due to the highly monitored surveillance program we can assure 100% detection when the test is performed correctly. If any mutation occurs we will know immediately. It also can be shipped without a cold chain which makes the shipping process easier and less expensive. Find out even more about our assay by contacting us here.