What You Need To Know About The COVID-19 PCR Test

Since the outbreak of the deadly pandemic in 2020, the importance of reliable and accessible methods of testing for the COVID-19 disease has become so apparent.

You’ve probably heard of the term ‘PCR Test’ before and may be wondering what it means and how it relates to COVID 19.

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. It is a special test that helps detect genetic material from a particular organism, for example, a virus.

How does the PCR test work?

The PCR test does the work of spotting the COVID-19 virus if it is present during the period of testing. The test also can detect fragments or pieces of the virus, even after it is no longer in effect.

The PCR test for COVID-19 operates by analyzing the upper respiratory specimen in search of the genetic material (Ribonucleic acid) of the COVID virus. The technology amplifies small portions of the material gotten via test specimens into detectable forms. Hence, a positive PCR test implies that you likely have COVID-19, whereas a negative PCR test implies you probably did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing.

What are the steps in COVID-19 PCR testing?                                           

There are three major steps in PCR testing.

  • The Sample Collection: Our healthcare provider uses a swap (a soft tip on a long, usually flexible stick) to collect respiratory material in the nose. The swaps come in two types: nasal swabs and the nasopharyngeal swab. The nasal swap collects test samples immediately inside the nostrils, while the nasopharyngeal swab can go further into the nasal cavity.

  • The Extraction: During this process, the collected sample is closely examined, as genetic material is isolated from the remaining material in the COVID-19 test sample.

  • The PCR: This step employs unique chemicals and enzymes, and a particular machine is known as the thermal cycler. Within the machine, there are heating and cooling processes that help amplify the quantity of target genetic material in the test tube. The PCR machine can spot the virus once the genetic material collected during testing has been amplified enough.

Who Should Get COVID-19 PCR Test?

It is recommended that you get tested if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, muscle ache, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell.

You should note that not every person with COVID-19 will develop symptoms. A special grade of persons, referred to as asymptomatic people, may not display all or any the signs of COVID-19 but still, they are able to spread the virus and even suffer the effects of the virus at its full-blown stage.  

As a safety measure to protect the citizens of any country (including your home country) it is required you get the COVID-19 PCR test while traveling out of or back into the country. This goes to say that if you are a frequent traveler, it is important to have your test done as frequent as you travel to help curb the spread of the virus across borders

Even if you have been vaccinated previously, you need to still check in and get tested if you feel the symptoms closely related to Covid-19.

Where Can I Get a COVID-19 PCR Test Done?

You can get your PCR test done in a diagnosis lab, where your samples will be collected and tested.

Afriglobal Medicare has one of the most Ultramodern and state-of-the-art analytical equipment which provides swift and accurate test results including the Covid PCR Test.

Afriglobal Medicare diagnostic centres across Lagos include the Ikeja centre, the drive-thru centre for convenience (also in Ikeja), the Victoria Island centre and the Ikorodu centre as well.

Afriglobal prioritizes your comfort during service delivery and that is why you can:

  • Fully book for a test online on the booking website at www.bookings.afriglobalmedicare.com 
  • Get your samples collected from the comfort of your home or office at no extra charges with the home-testing service (terms and conditions apply)
  • Subscribe for the ambulance service if you would like to be taken to and fro any of our diagnostic centres in comfort using the best route possible to avoid traffic gridlocks

How Long Will You Wait For The Test Results?

At Afriglobal Medicare, you can get your COVID-19 PCR test results as early as within 8-24 hours depending on how early in the day your sample is collected, and the best part is that you can have them delivered electronically.

You can also get a rapid antigen test done, available only in our Ikeja centre, and your results will be ready within 10 – 20 minutes only.

In Conclusion

It’s important to keep in mind that we are still fighting a pandemic, so you need to do all that is required to stay safe. Travelling can be exciting and relaxing too but don’t forget to do a PCR test before traveling or returning, to keep yourself and loved ones safe during this pandemic and also if you feel any symptoms of the virus.