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What Tests are Done to Detect COVID-19?

PCR test 2
PCR test 2

The main test that is done to detect COVID-19 is the PCR test. The polymerase chain reaction test (AKA the PCR test) can detect the virus inside a human if it is present. This test will deduct whether you have the COVID-19 virus or not. PCR tests are very common throughout the world in finding other viruses inside organisms. 

PCR test 2

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So How Does the PCR Test Work?

The PCR test works by first letting the workers collect a sample of your DNA. Some common ways that the collectors get their samples are by a nose swab, throat swab, and saliva sample. This is the first step of the process for the PCR test.

The second step for the PCR test is that the samples (the samples collected earlier by nose swab, throat swab, or saliva sample) are transported into a laboratory for analysis. There, the scientists and professionals will manipulate the DNA with the testing equipment to see how it reacts to different things. This way, they will be able to tell whether you actually have the virus in your system or not. The results of the PCR test should be generally provided in 1 to 3 days.

If the sample is not sent to a laboratory, it will usually stay in the hospital or clinic that you are waiting in. In the hospital or clinic, your doctor will take a sample of your DNA and will produce the results while you wait. This will generally be done by smaller machines that can load fewer samples at the same time. This would also mean that people in rural areas and remote and isolated areas will have access to this kind of “point-of-care” technology.

Other tests that can be done are Antibody (serology) tests. This test is similar to the PCR test where they take a sample from your body and analyze whether you have been infected by COVID-19 or not. For this test, they will take a sample of your blood and check if your body has created the antibodies for the virus. A positive serology test means that you were infected by the virus before but it won’t tell you how long ago you were infected.

This test is less preferred by governments or organizations as a testing method than the PCR test as this won’t tell you if you have been infected in the early stages of the virus. This test’s main goal is to estimate how many people have had COVID-19 and to determine which public health measures need to be in place. This test is different from the PCR test as this test will not tell you that you are infected in the present.

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