Differences between PCR and rapid coronavirus tests

Given the current pandemic situation, it is essential to have reliable information to establish health conditions that help stop the advance of the disease. There are different types of tests that can detect the virus, so it is essential to do it if you have the typical symptoms of the disease, have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or there is suspicion of contagion from the usual environment in which the person lives.

In order to know how PCRs differ from rapid coronavirus tests, we have turned to the experts at tumedico.es, a medicine portal in which its professional experts have helped us to solve this question so common today.

What is the PCR test?

PCR stands for Polymerase chain reaction, which is a diagnostic test that detects a fragment of the genetic material of any kind of pathogen. In the current pandemic, PCRs are used to detect whether or not the organism is infected with the Coronavirus.

In this sense, it is valid to emphasize that the PCR test is one of the best tests to establish if you have COVID-19 and provides maximum reliability with respect to other analyzes. The test is a genetic analysis that detects the SARS-Cov-2 RNA genes in a nasopharyngeal sample.

The extracted samples are analyzed using the RT-PCR technique, which consists of amplifying the fragments of the COVID-19 viral RNA. In addition, the test is suitable for recent infections and also detects the disease in patients without symptoms. The specificity of the test is between 98 and 99.5%, which allows us to know for sure if the patient is having the disease or not.

The different tests to detect COVID-19

Actually, there are various tests to detect the COVID-19 virus, among which the following can be found:

  • PCR test: It is the only test on the market that detects the virus adhering to the patient’s nostrils, even if it does not present any kind of symptoms or if it is during the incubation period, which is why it is the most requested.
  • Antibody Test: it does not detect the virus, but instead tests the patient’s blood to determine whether or not it has antibodies.
  • Rapid Antigen Test: It is one of the rapid tests that has less reliability, so it is recommended to perform it only if there are symptoms during the first 5 days of evolution.

When is it advisable to do a PCR test?

Person should perform a PCR test when any of the following situations occurs:

  • To the be in contact with individuals who have been diagnosed by COVID-19
  • Have any suspicions of contact with an asymptomatic patient but exposed to viral load
  • Yes symptoms appear compatible with the disease
  • Yes you are with someone in your environment who has symptoms compatible with the virus
  • Before performing surgery or when performing assisted reproduction cycles
  • When traveling to other countries for labor issues

The COVID-19 is one of the pathologies that is still being studied For this reason, they are still looking for their limitations and differences between patients who have the disease during the incubation periods, symptoms and overcoming the disease.

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