The year three of the pandemic, and there is still no other choice but to protect yourself but to get regularly tested. Regular options to check whether you are healthy are rapid tests, PCR tests, and RT-PCR tests. Well, the choice very much depends on the urgency and your needs.
Let’s find out how PCR and RT-PCR differ from each other. You’ll also learn if they can be done at home and what the indications are for getting yourself tested.
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Regular PCR vs RT-PCR (Real Time PCR)
Well, assuming you need to get the full advantage of COVID-19 testing as rapid testing is not an option for you, here is what you’ve got left:
- Normal or same-day PCR.
This is what most call “standard” PCR. The mechanism is simple: a nursing provider takes a biological material with a swab, hermetically seal it, and sends it to the laboratory area. Then, when it comes to testing, 1) double-stranded DNA is heat denatured, 2) primers align to the separated DNA strands, and 3) the primers are extended by DNA polymerase this way, making two copies of the DNA strand.
The series of denaturation, annealing, and elongation process over a series of times is known as one cycle of amplification. This is repeated approximately 20-40 times to detect pathogenic DNA accurately. The process is lengthy and may take, with swab delivery included, nearly a day.
- Quick PCR COVID test.
Reverse transcription real-time PCR (RT-PCR) uses RNA as a template. An additional step is the detection and amplification of TNA. The steps are the synthesis of a DNA/RNA hybrid and the completion of a single-stranded DNA molecule by DNA-dependent polymerase. Then, the regular PCR reaction is performed.
It allows for quantifying RNA transcripts in a biological sample. This way, the detection of the virus is done in the first PCR step.
Can Fast RT-PCR Be Done At-Home
Private RT-PCR is a convenient way to get tested. Not every provider would offer mobile testing, but such options on the market are absolutely not unheard of. Fast test COVID-19 is ordered online, like any other procedure or service, then the mobile van arrives at your location, and the nursing provider takes the biological sample.
After like 3-6 hours, depending on multiple factors, you get your results via email. So, you definitely may have RT-PCR at home, which is as reliable as conventional testing, but way more convenient.
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When to Opt for RT-PCR?
Basically, you should choose fast test COVID-19 anytime you:
- Plan to travel internationally.
- Was in contact with a confirmed positive individual.
- Experience covid-like symptoms.
- Plan to visit a public event.
Get yourself and the ones in your circle protected. And the best way to do so is to not neglect quality COVID-19 testing.