With Dubai and along with it the whole world being subject to COVID-19, one should be aware of all the technical terms that are associated with it. One such term is the PCR test. If you’re unaware of what this is and how is it related to COVID-19, please read further.
What is a PCR test?
A Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test using a nose swab is the most efficient and reliable way of identifying any traces of SARS-CoV-2; the coronavirus that results in COVID-19; hence being referred to as the “gold standard” for detecting the deadly virus.
This particular test checks for the presence of the virus by detecting any genetic material from it that may have been present in the body. Therefore, one can also be tested positive even if he/she is no longer infected by the virus as it may leave behind a few fragments that can still be detected by PCR.
When a person gets a PCR test done, he/she is expected to receive the result for it within 24 hours of testing. Nevertheless, it may even take a few days depending on the amount of samples that are in the lab waiting to be tested.
How does the PCR test work?
As reported by Cleveland Clinic, a PCR test involves three important steps.
- Firstly, the sample is collected using either a nasal or a nasopharyngeal swab. Nasal swabs collect a sample immediately from inside the nostrils, while nasopharyngeal swabs are pushed further into the nasal cavity.
- After collecting the sample, the swab is sealed in a tube and sent to the lab where the second process, termed as extraction, takes place. In this process, the genetic material from the virus is separated from within the sample.
- After extraction, PCR is conducted, which is the last and the most important step. At this stage, special chemicals and a thermal cycle are used in order to make millions of copies of the genetic material that is collected. And this is basically the moment of truth when one of the chemicals used produces a fluorescent light as a signal that the virus is present in the sample. A special software is used that declares the result as positive if the virus is really there.
A PCR test may not always show traces of the virus even if you are a victim to it. This mostly happens when a person recently gets infected and does not yet show the symptoms for it or when it’s been over a week since the person has been victim to the disease. Whatever it may be, it is certain that one can never be safe as long as the virus is at bay.
However, whether you’ve been tested positive or negative, you’re still supposed to take all the necessary precautions that are expected of you. If you’re COVID-positive in Dubai, you should isolate yourself and get professional healthcare assistance if necessary. Similarly, if you’ve tested negative, you should take all the basic precautions to prevent yourself from getting infected.
With an alarming surge in the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, it has become all the more necessary for all of us in Dubai to be wary of our health.
If we feel that we have been exposed to the virus and are showing any symptoms, we should immediately get a PCR test done. This way we can not only save our own lives but also keep others around us safe.