Covid 19 RT PCR Test
With a legacy of delivering world-class and backed by the state-of-art technology, Apollo hospitals has been approved by the ICMR, Government of India for samples collection, testing and diagnosing COVID-19 suspects.
The collection of samples happen only by prescription from a qualified physician. We follow stringent safety protocols & hygienic collection method through qualified and trained phlebotomist for safe and hygienic sample collection.
Documents to be presented for getting COVID-19 tested:
- Prescription for COVID-19 test from a qualified physician
- Government photo-id
- Duly filled Specimen Referral Form – Click here to download
The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly growing worldwide, and there are a rising number of cases of COVID-19 globally. Owing to this there is an increase in understanding and discussion of the number of medical terminologies that are used for the detection of COVID-19 such as RT-PCR test, TruNat test, antigen test, rapid antibody test and others. According to the regulatory authorities such as FDA, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), RT-PCR is one of the most accurate laboratory testing method for the current coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, there are other tests as well used for the detection of the presence of the virus in an individual. Thus, with an increasing number of people getting infected with the novel disease there is a rise in the number of people getting tested for the same. In various states including New Delhi it is free and requires no prescription for the testing. The government also modulates their guidelines for people’s benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Owing to the current coronavirus pandemic RT-PCR a medical terminology has come into focus. An RT-PCR test is a laboratory test that combines reverse transcription of RNA into DNA for the detection of the virus. RT-PCR test is the most preferred test for COVID-19; however, this test is time-consuming and costly as it has an elaborate kit. An RT-PCR test uses nose or throat swabs for the detection of viruses. Also, only trained professionals who are instructed for the use of the RT-PCR kit can carry out the RT-PCR test. RT-PCR requires a full set-up that includes the trained practitioners, laboratory, and RT-PCR machine for detection and analysis.
The COVID-19 real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests the upper and lower respiratory specimens such as swabs, sputum, nasopharyngeal, and others of the patients suspected with COVID-19. Nasal or throat swabs of an individual are collected under the observation of a healthcare practitioner or a self-collection kit can also be used that is commercially approved for use of this test.
This test includes the extraction of ribonucleic acid (RNA) a genetic material of the COVID-19 virus. The test analyzes the genetic sequences such as the SARS-COV-2 virus and then the results are positive. The test results are negative when the sample analyzed does not contain the virus or the sample is not administered properly. RT-PCR test is expensive, as it requires trained professionals, RNA extraction machines, and a laboratory. A minimum of four hours is required to get the RT-PCR test results and gauge the extent of infection in an individual.
Real-time RT-PCR stands for Real-Time Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain. Reaction enables detection and presence of specific genetic material in the pathogens that include viruses or bacteria. The method utilizes radioactive isotope markers for the detection of targeted genetic materials; however, with advancements, the isotopic labeling is replaced with special markers such as fluorescent dyes. This technique enables professionals to review the results immediately. Real-time RT-PCR is one of the widely used methods for the detection of COVID-19. This method also helps in increasing the testing volume to meet the increasing number of sample pools.
RT-PCR has two protocols, a one-step protocol and a two-step protocol –
- In one-step protocol the RT and PCR components are mixed in a single tube simultaneously The one-step protocol works well for amplifying targets that are reasonably abundant. Also, there is less variation as both reactions take place in the same tube. In addition, the one-step protocol is suitable for high throughput screening.
- The two-step protocol includes – first reverse transcription and then the PCR. In a two-step protocol a stable c-DNA pool is generated which can be stored for longer periods and can be used for multiple reactions. The two-step method is more sensitive than the one-step method and yields better results of the rare targets and is a flexible priming option.
Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is one of the most used tests for COVID-19. In the RT-PCR test, a sample of nose or throat swab is taken of the person to analyze the genetic fragments of the virus. However, the swabs of a patient are of less quantity and are not adequate for testing purposes. Whereas TrueNat is a chip-based test for detecting SARS-COV-2 E-gene that holds the traits of coronavirus. The TrueNat test gives out fast results compared to the RT-PCR test as it is automated. TrueNat utilizes the throat and nose swab samples to identify the presence of a virus. Also, a TrueNat test is rapid and portable which allows healthcare professionals to set up mobile centers. Whereas an RT-PCR test would require a complete laboratory set-up.
The regulatory authorities such as Food & Drug Association have approved and supports the testing of COVID-19 at home or other non-laboratory settings such as schools, offices, and others provided that the place should support consumer safety and test accuracy. Home sample collection can be done if the patient is not able to visit the laboratory or has opted for self-isolation or have been diagnosed with certain symptoms of the virus. To get self-tested, you can request the laboratory professionals to visit your home and get the samples collected for further analysis. Thus, considering your health status and risk associated with visiting a healthcare setup you can opt for home sample collection.
According to the health experts, RT-PCR tests are more accurate compared to other tests such as the antigen and antibody tests. As the test analyzes the genetic sequences such as the SARS-COV-2 virus and then determines the results. However, the test results of an RT-PCR test is not completely accurate or perfect. In a large sample size, the test can detect some false-negative patients due to laboratory error or insufficient sample size from the patient.
Also, another issue with these tests can be faulty reagents. The vendors are working on strict guidelines to maintain the quality of the reagents and the kits. Thus, if the RT-PCR test results of a patient are negative and there are some symptoms of the virus identified then the healthcare professionals can make use of other tests such as a CT scan for confirmation.
The COVID-19 cases are scaling daily so, do the testing for the virus. Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved the use of TruNat test for the screening and confirmation of COVID-19 patients. TruNat is a chip-based test that detects the SARS-COV-2 E-gene. Unlike the RT-PCR test, TruNat is an automated test and the results for the same are available early compared to other types of tests i.e. within half an hour.
Both RT-PCR and TruNat tests use throat and nose swab samples to detect the presence of the virus. Thus, TruNat is a cheaper and quicker version of the test than RT-PCR and both these tests are effective for the detection of the COVID-19 virus. However, a TruNat machine is portable and battery operated and requires a continuous power supply and air conditioning which restricts the deployment of the machine for testing. Hence, depending on the availability and the severity of the infection you can get the TruNat or RT-PCR test done.
It varies from city to city and hospital to hospital. In certain places, you will not require a doctor’s prescription for the RTPCR test, but in others, you might. The doctors or other health-care services will let you know if you need it or not. You can get a free test in Delhi without a doctor’s prescription since the number of coronavirus cases has increased. This cannot be said about other states. You will need to consult the hospital or doctor to get more information.
Anyone who encounters the initial signs or symptoms of the coronavirus which is mainly the loss of smell or taste as well as difficulty breathing. These are the two main symptoms of the coronavirus. Most people know the other symptoms are flu-like which is why they easily mistaken the URI or common cold with coronavirus. This is when people should get a COVID test done or an RTPCR test.
There are no side effects of the RTPCR test. But there is a high chance of getting a false-negative or false-positive result. Many of the cases that have come through have seen false-negative and false-positive results that have set back multiple hospitals. The people who undergo the RTPCR test will not experience any negative side effects from the test. It is rather harmless. The issue of eliciting false-negative and false-positive results is due to the finding of typical antibodies responsible for specific signs and characteristics of COVID-19. But computed tomography (CT) images were not diagnosed. This can be very harmful for the patient and time consuming for the doctor.
Yes, both children, as well as elderly people, can get the RTPCR test done. The real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction is a qualitative method that is used for detecting the presence of specific nucleic acid in the genetic material. Scientists today use this technique to see the results immediately even while the processing is still going on. Right now, this is one of the most widely used laboratory methods to detect the COVID-19 virus. Prior to this, it was used for detecting other diseases like the Ebola virus and the Zika virus. It has proven to be rather effective against the coronavirus.
There are multiple tests for COVID and each test takes its own time to come up with the results. The tests could take a few hours or even a few days to get the results out. This entirely depends on the kind of test as well as the hospital. If the hospital isn’t under pressure then delivering the results may not take that much time.
You can check your COVID test report online if you ask your doctor where to look. But it is advised to consult your doctor first to get your reports as they can give you better information. They can advise you better on how to handle the situation. Not only that, they can educate you on daily precautionary measures that you need to do for the well-being of yourself as well as your family or loved ones. This result can come as a shock, so having a professional walk you through it, is a better option.
If you are tested positive for COVID then you don’t necessarily have to check into a medical center. You can isolate yourself at your home. But you will need to connect with an appropriate health-care service. You can take the medication the doctors prescribe until your symptoms completely resolve or remain persistent for time being. If the symptoms exacerbate, then you might need to get hospitalized. The only reason why people ask you not to go to the hospital immediately is that you may have a mild case that can easily be resolved by sheltering-in-place
A false negative is the opposite of a false positive. In this, a test result can come back negative suggesting that the person does not have the disease or condition but in reality, the person does have it. Symptoms could show up later or stay consistent even after the negative test. This is when the patient and doctor might realize that they still have the disease and the test was false. This is seen with tuberculosis or Lyme disease as well as tests for pregnancy. This does not happen that often, but when it does, it can cause complications.
A false positive is when a test rules somebody as positive, who does not have coronavirus. The test determines that they have the infection or the antibodies due to which the test came positive, but in reality, they do not. This happens during testing which can cause huge complications for the patient as well as the doctors. There are many cases where people had false-positive test results for the coronavirus test, but it turned out that they did not have it.
This entirely depends on you. If you home quarantine yourself for 10 days and see no symptoms of the coronavirus then you don’t need to take another test. But if you wish to travel to other places, then a test should be done. This can be useful while traveling to prove that you do not have the coronavirus. A second test should be done as many people have been asymptomatic even though they are carrying the virus. A test will rule out all doubt if a person has the virus or not.
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