PCR Testing for COVID-19
We are pleased to announce that VIVO Clinic are now offering PCR testing.
What is PCR Testing?
PCR testing can determine the presence of an antigen or foreign material within the body. PCR stands for ‘polymerise chain reaction’, and this is currently the most common method of testing that is being used to identify COVID-19 in patients.
PCR is capable of identifying genetic information that is specific to an antigen. Therefore, in the case of COVID-19, PCR Tests can locate the strands of RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) that the coronavirus is composed of. In contrast to other testing methods, these tests s can indicate if someone has an illness or disease early on, before showing signs of symptoms.
What does PCR Testing involve?
Before PCR Testing can take place, a sample must be taken from the subject. A swab is used to take a sample from the throat, which will then be sent off to a laboratory for examination. PCR is incredibly useful for determining who may be carrying infections, thereby helping to prevent illnesses from spreading. PCR works by focusing on locating a specific type of DNA within a sample.
The first stages of PCR involve duplicating the DNA found in samples. This is to ensure that there is enough DNA to be examined. To copy DNA and increase the size of the sample for PCR, researchers must form ‘primers.’ These are short sequences of DNA that match the ends of the existing strands of DNA within the sample. Before the primers are attached to the DNA within the sample, the researchers must heat the sample to encourage the DNA to separate into two strands. Once this has taken place, the primers can be linked to the DNA strands.
The next stage is to copy the DNA again, where the primers are found in the sample. To do so, researchers use a DNA polymerase, which is an enzyme that contributes to the replication of DNA. Following this, the DNA is heated once again, to separate the strands. This whole cycle is repeated multiple times during the tests, to enlarge the quantity of DNA within the sample so it can be analysed effectively.
What can PCR be used for?
PCR Testing is often used to identify Sexually Transmitted Diseases. PCR Testing is ideal for this because by focusing on the identification of DNA, this means that diseases or infections can be detected without the pathogen having to be alive. As mentioned above, PCR Testing enables researchers to discover infections at an early stage, thereby helping to preserve people’s health.
Other applications of PCR Testing include biological research, for instance establishing paternity and blood relations, as well as DNA fingerprinting.
Recently, PCR has also be used to identify whether a person is infected with COVID-19. In this case, the testing process can be used to look for RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) that is specific to COVID-19. By doing so, testing can determine if someone is suffering from COVID-19, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms.
At VIVO Clinic, we offer PCR Testing and antibody testing for a range of illnesses and diseases, including COVID-19. Use the form on this page to make an enquiry.