RT PCR Testing Procedure: What to Expect

When you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, you may have COVID-19. If you’re going to be around other people in the foreseeable future, it’s a good idea to get tested. 

Different COVID-19 tests exist, and they may not always be accurate. For example, 15-minute rapid tests are especially prone to false-negative results. 

It’s better to explore RT-PCR tests as a more practical and accurate alternative. This guide will detail RT-PCR testing procedures and why you should visit an Eatontown, NJ, COVID testing facility

Understanding RT-PCR Testing 

Before detailing RT-PCR testing procedures, let’s explore what PCR means. PCR stands for a polymerase chain reaction, a standard laboratory method used to copy or amplify tiny genetic material segments. 

Also called “molecular photocopying,” this procedure is highly effective and precise. Besides testing for infectious diseases, PCR can also diagnose genetic disorders. 

How RT-PCR Tests for a COVID-19 Active Infection

RT-PCR testing procedures start by using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction. This procedure incorporates fluorescent dyes in the PCR process. It measures a sample’s total amount of genetic material. 

Healthcare workers collect a patient’s sample using a saliva tube or nasal swabs. The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes COVID-19 by using RNA as its primary genetic makeup. 

The RT-PCR test converts the single-stranded RNA into a double-stranded DNA sequence. Experts call this process reverse transcription, and both DNA strands become separated. 

In the next step, primers attach to each strand’s end. Once primers attach, fluorescent dyes also attach, creating a duplication. This cycle repeats up to 30 times to generate DNA copies corresponding to SARS-CoV-2’s RNA. 

In short, this test looks for corresponding genetic material matching that of COVID-19. 

Can There Be a False Positive? 

A positive result occurs when the RT-PCR test amplifies genetic material within the COVID-19 virus. As such, it’s unlikely for false positives to happen, though there’s always a chance. 

False negatives are more likely to happen. For example, a false negative can occur when there isn’t enough viral load for the PCR exam to detect. This false negative can mean a person is infected even though the test didn’t show that result. 

Call A2Z Diagnostics Today 

RT-PCR testing procedures aren’t always the most accurate. However, they still provide more accurate readings versus other COVID-19 testing methods. 

When you need accurate and efficient COVID testing services, A2Z Diagnostics can help. Eatontown, NJ, residents can call (732) 542-3200!