What is a PCR test?
The PCR test (polymerase chain reaction) is the most suitable method for detecting the presence of coronavirus in your body. This is due to the fact that the test detects the RNA of the virus, i.e. the virus itself, its hereditary material, from a sample obtained from the surface of the pharyngeal and nasal mucosa by examining the genetic characteristics of the virus. It provides information on whether the person being tested is infected or carrying the virus at the time of sampling, this also reveals whether the patient is able to infect others. It is also suitable for proving the recovery of a previous coronavirus-infected patient. Positivity persists as long as the disease persists.
One of the great advantages of the PCR test is that it is able to detect the virus at a very early stage of the disease, up to 1-3 days after infection, before the onset of symptoms. Sampling may take place at such an early stage that infection is not yet detectable, in which case it may be necessary to repeat the test.
When is a PCR test worthwhile and / or should be performed?
- If you have been in close contact with a confirmed person who has the coronavirus infection.
- If you detect any of the symptoms of the coronavirus on yourself or think you may have been in contact with a person or object who is infected with the coronavirus.
- Before and after traveling abroad.
- To work, to return to work.
- Before surgery.
What are the most common symptoms of coronavirus?
The coronavirus usually has mild symptoms, but in some cases, severe symptoms can occur. People at highest risk for the disease are the elderly and those with a chronic illness, but young, healthy people without the underlying disease can also have a severe course. Medicine doesn’t have any accurate information yet on the reason for this.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are:
- depression, weakness, muscle aches,
- sore throat, dry cough,
- shortness of breath,
- loss of taste and smell,
- nausea, diarrhea.
What should I look for before performing a PCR test?
The test must be performed in a mask which is covering the mouth and nose, with an empty stomach, and in the 4-5 hours before sampling it is forbidden to perform any activities that may affect the density and composition of mucous secretions:
- Don't eat!
- Do not drink (not even water)!
- Do not rinse with mouthwash or plain water.
- Do not brush your teeth!
- Don't smoke!
- Don't chew!
- Do not suck on candy or other mouthwashes.
How is the PCR test performed?
Before testing, our staff measures body temperature and asks if there are any symptoms of coronavirus.
A mucosal swab is then taken from the upper pharyngeal arch using a sterile sampling rod, which is then washed into the stabilizing inactivation medium. With the help of the other sampling wand, a fraction is taken from the surface of the nasal mucosa, which is also washed into the previously used test tube. The wand is then removed from the tube and disposed of as hazardous waste.
The sample thus obtained is subjected to genetic testing to determine whether or not we are infected with the virus.
Sampling may in rare cases be uncomfortable, mildly painful, and may result in vomiting. Sudden head movements should be avoided during the test.
The procedure requires special sampling equipment and expertise, so a person wishing to use the test cannot perform it at home, on their own. Our staff with the appropriate training and experience will perform the sampling professionally in protective clothing in accordance with epidemiological protocols. Improper sampling can lead to erroneous results!
How accurate is the PCR test result?
The PCR test is the most suitable method for detecting the presence of virus, as a sample taken correctly, prepared and processed has an accuracy of more than 95%.
How fast is the test result?
In general, the result of the PCR test is available within 24 hours. If you need an emergency test result, let our colleagues know!
In case if the result is positive, the fact of infection shall be reported to the competent authorities in accordance with the relevant legislation.If our patient has previously been confirmed to be infected, then two negative results from a sample taken 48 hours apart are required to declare a cure.