COVID-19 PCR tests, also known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, are the most commonly used type of test to detect whether an individual has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These diagnostic tests work by detecting genetic material from the virus in a sample taken from the patient’s nose or throat.
If you are wondering about the accuracy of COVID-19 PCR tests, continue reading. In this article, we will discuss the testing process and its accuracy.
How Do COVID-19 PCR Tests Work?
The first step in administering a COVID-19 PCR test is for healthcare professionals to take a swab sample from inside either your nose or throat and place it into a transport medium that preserves its integrity until further analysis can be done.
The second step involves extracting any viral RNA present within this sample using specific enzymes that break down cell walls and release their contents into a solution. Once extracted, specialized techniques such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplify these molecules, so they can be detected more easily when undergoing testing procedures, such as fluorescence microscopy or enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Through these steps, a lab technician can detect if COVID-19 is present in a sample.
How Accurate Are COVID-19 PCR Tests?
In terms of overall reliability, according to estimates published by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention last year, about 95 percent of all positive cases were correctly identified through the use of reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR), making them one of the most accurate methods available today in diagnosing infection with SARS CoV 2 viruses causing COVID-19.
When it comes to accuracy levels of this type of testing, there have been many studies conducted on both false positive and false negative rates. However, due to different circumstances surrounding each case, results may vary widely depending on variables like quality control measures implemented in clinical settings where samples are processed.
Generally speaking, reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR) tend towards high specificity, meaning few if any non-target organisms will register positively while sensitivity is lower, meaning some true positives may not get picked up during initial screening processes, requiring repeat sampling before definitive diagnoses can be made.
Overall, given the current state of medical research, although not perfect, COVID-19 PCR tests remain the best way to determine the presence of novel coronavirus infections in our communities today. They provide reliable data needed to make informed decisions regarding public health policy interventions designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 PCR Tests in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Irving, TX
The COVID-19 PCR test is the most accurate test available. If you are looking for a reliable COVID-19 PCR test provider in Dallas, Fort Worth, or Irving, choose Texas Medical Institute. We provide this test along with an extensive menu of other services. We are proud to offer cost-effective medical services to the community.
Texas Medical Institute now offers drive-up COVID-19 testing for your safety and convenience. For any questions or to schedule your COVID-19 PCR test, call us today at (817) 615-8633. Our friendly staff looks forward to assisting you with your needs.