"> PCR Test - COVID-19 Diagnostic Test in Houston Valid For Travel Too

Search Test for Appointment

PCR Test

Test Discription

PCR Test

PCR test is used to locate genetic material that is characteristic of a particular organism in your body. COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing checks for the presence or absence of the virus that causes this disease, SARS-CoV-2. PCR tests are even able to detect the presence of viral components in your body after you have recovered. It is more important now than ever before to get tested for COVID-19. Testing helps ensure that you keep you and your loved ones safe. The RT-PCR test is the most effective way to determine if you have COVID-19, and many countries now require RT-PCR testing upon arrival and departure when traveling.

PCR Test is a Molecular Test

There are two types of diagnostic tests: molecular tests and antigen tests. PCR tests are a type of molecular test. A molecular test makes use of nasal swabs or saliva. These tests are accurate and upon completion, no further testing is necessary. Other diseases, such as influenza, also use molecular tests.

High-Risk Exposure to COVID-19

Contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes or being within six feet of an infectious individual puts you at high risk of contracting the virus. In this case, it is highly recommended that you get a COVID-19 RT-PCR test.

High-risk individuals, such as essential workers in the health care sector or those admitted to a hospital, are encouraged to get tested often.

Purposes of the PCR Test

The primary reasons to get the RT-PCR test are:

  • To diagnose COVID-19 infection accurately.
  • To fulfill the requirement of submitting the COVID-19 diagnostic test results for traveling.
  • Identifying COVID-19 at its initial stage, also when it is asymptomatic. You must frequently get this test if you are at risk of this infection because of your job sector or if you have been admitted to a hospital.
  • To confirm the results of the rapid antigen diagnostic test for COVID-19.

Samples for RT-PCR Testing

RT-PCR tests are molecular diagnostic tests. They use a sample of nasal secretions for analysis. A nasal swab is used to collect a sample. Unlike antibody tests, they do not require blood samples.

COVID-19 RT-PCR Testing

Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing is the most effective way to diagnose COVID-19. It uses nasal swabs, is convenient, and does not cause any side effects. The tester uses a long stick with a bristled brush at the end to collect fluids and cells along the passage of the nose and the back of the throat.

Serology/Antibody Testing versus PCR Testing

Antibody tests can be used to determine whether you already had COVID-19.

Antigen tests determine whether your immune system produced antibodies in response to the virus. There are enough COVID-19 antibodies in the body a week after contracting the illness. Antibody tests cannot be used to diagnose active COVID-19 infections, meaning that RT-PCR testing is required to diagnose COVID-19.

Common Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 could be totally asymptomatic. It can also remain asymptomatic at its initial stage. Common signs of COVID-19 infection are:

  • Fever
  • Coughs
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Nausea
  • Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Diarrhea

At Home COVID-19 Tests

The FDA has approved home testing for COVID-19. However, samples may be ruined during transport from your home to the lab. Our labs deliver accurate results in minimal time, even during the peak of the pandemic.

PCR Lab Tests

Our lab technologists perform PCR lab tests on nasal samples in a process called extraction. All organisms have unique genetic material. This is the basis of extraction, as this method is used to separate the genetic material of the virus from the rest of the sample.

A thermal cycler is then used to create several copies of the genetic material of the sample. The thermal cycler is composed of a PCR machine and certain chemicals. These chemicals give a fluorescent light upon detecting the virus. The software in the PCR machine interprets this fluorescent light as a positive result of the test.

Positive RT-PCR Test Results

A positive result of the RT-PCR test means that it is very likely that a person currently has COVID-19. However, it is possible to receive a positive result after recovery as inactive fragments of the virus can still remain inside the body. In this case, you are no longer contagious.

Inactive viral fragments may remain inside your body for extended periods of time, giving you a positive RT-PCR test, even without active infection.

In this case, you must still practice preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, as you will not know whether you have an active infection or not, and a positive test result means that you may still have the ability to transmit the infection to others.

Negative RT-PCR Test Results

A negative result does not always mean that you do not have COVID-19. It is possible that you are still infected, but that there are not enough viral fragments inside your body to be detected by the RT-PCR test. Your results are more likely to be negative if you began suffering from COVID-19 more than a week prior to your test. Therefore, it is still important to practice social distancing and other preventative measures to minimize the spread.

Despite this, RT-PCR testing still produces the most accurate COVID-19 diagnostic results.

Who Should Get a COVID-19 RT-PCR Test?

You should get a COVID-19 RT-PCR test if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been in close proximity with someone who has COVID-19 (even if you do not have any symptoms). Some people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they have no symptoms despite active infection and the potential to infect others.

Is PCR Testing Safe?

There are no side effects and minimal risk associated with PCR testing. At most, you may experience mild discomfort or irritation from the nasal swab, but this is only temporary.

Are There Any Other COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests?

Currently, a COVID-19 diagnostic test that uses saliva is being developed and in use. There are throat swab tests available that are less invasive, but also less accurate. RT-PCR test is the most accurate diagnostic test for COVID-19.

Use of Nucleic Acids in Antigen and PCR Tests

Antigen tests locate proteins in the body produced by the immune system in response to foreign particles inside the body. PCR tests locate the nucleic acids that are unique to the genetic material of the viral particles that cause COVID-19. Antigen testing is more invasive, less accurate, and is more likely to produce both false positives and false negatives.

However, results from antigen tests are available more quickly. Results are typically available within an hour. RT-PCR test results are available in 24-72 hours. Our lab aims to provide results within 24 to 48 hours to all patients.

PCR Versus Rapid Test

Though rapid tests produce results quickly, they are not as accurate as RT-PCR tests.

PCR Testing Efficacy

As the RT-PCR test is the most accurate COVID-19 diagnostic test, its other use is to confirm the results of other tests, such as the antigen test.

PCR test for traveling 

PCR testing is necessary for international travel. Travelers should get this test prior to departure and upon arrival at their destination. The CDC recommends undergoing testing 1-3 days before your trip and 3-5 days after upon your return, along with a 7 day long self-quarantine.

Our lab provides PCR tests for travelers and provides documentation they may submit to airlines.

PCR Test Near Me

We provide testing services at several locations, including 8150 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX, 77074, Mercy Clinic, Belfort Satellite Location, South Wilcrest Community Clinic, and Bee Busy Center.

If you suspect you have COVID-19, register yourself for a FREE RT-PCR test at labwork360.com. Results are provided within 72 hours by our team of experts.

 

If you’ve had unprotected sex and notice unusual symptoms, you could be infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Even if you don’t have any visible symptoms, it’s possible to have an STD and spread it to another person.

These Tests and Panels are included :

CPT Codes

Questions:

Who Should Get a COVID-19 RT-PCR Test?

Is PCR Testing Safe?

Are There Any Other COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests?

Answers:

You should get a COVID-19 RT-PCR test if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been in close proximity with someone who has COVID-19 (even if you do not have any symptoms). Some people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they have no symptoms despite active infection and the potential to infect others.

There are no side effects and minimal risk associated with PCR testing. At most, you may experience mild discomfort or irritation from the nasal swab, but this is only temporary.

Currently, a COVID-19 diagnostic test that uses saliva is being developed and in use. There are throat swab tests available that are less invasive, but also less accurate. RT-PCR test is the most accurate diagnostic test for COVID-19.