What is RT-PCR test

The RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) test is a diagnostic tool that is both accurate and reliable in detecting the COVID-19 virus. PCR tests are effective at detecting genetic material from specific organisms, such as the COVID-19 virus. Then, through a chemical reaction, processing labs can determine whether the virus is present from each test sample.

PCR tests are carried out through a simple three-step process. First, a healthcare provider will use a swab to collect respiratory material from your nose. While there are a few different types of swabs, each of them is sufficient in collecting the required genetic material. Then, that sample is sent to a processing lab. Here, the genetic material is isolated from other material found within the sample. The isolated material is then put into a PCR machine to determine whether the test is positive or negative for the COVID-19 virus.

While there are other tests available for detecting COVID-19, such as the antibody or antigen tests, neither are as accurate at producing results as the PCR test. Even though the antigen test produces faster results in as little as 15 to 30 minutes, they are less sensitive to genetic material collected from the virus.