PCR Test

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Covid PCR Test

The PCR test for COVID-19 is the international reference test verifying the presence of the COVID-19 virus. It is a particular and very reliable test because it identifies traces of the coronavirus genome.

The PCR test is mandatory sometimes and generally whenever you want to confirm recovery from COVID. It is carried out by taking mucus from the nose and the pharynx, usually available within 36 hours. The cost of this tampon is higher than the rapid one. It must be carried out only in specialized laboratories and pharmacies and, in any case, with competent personnel.

Young man getting PCR test for coronavirus during appointment at a pharmacy in Italy.

How reliable is the PCR test?

Although it is called “tampone molecolare” in Italy, it is also known internationally as a PCR test, from the English acronym "Polymerase Chain Reaction": it is the methodology that allows recognition of the DNA of COVID-19 in the body.

Although new types of PCR tests are being studied, the COVID-19 molecular test is currently considered the standard in all cases where it is necessary to verify the infection. It has a 98% reliability: 98 out of 100 tests give a correct result.

How to book a PCR Test in Italy

The Covid PCR test can be booked by telephone or electronically. In some cases, it is provided directly by the ASL of reference, for example, in the event of a positive result of a quick test at the pharmacy. It is also offered as confirmation for recovery after the quarantine required by law in case of infection.

When should the PCR test be done?

The PCR Test is used to confirm healing after a covid infection and for various situations. For example, in the case of a scheduled hospitalization in a hospital or in an RSA, as a screening for health workers, for those who have contact with fragile subjects, and in the case of international travel: in fact, in many countries, it is still required for entry.

Covid PCR Test: where to do it?

In addition to the clinics, it is possible to carry out a PCR Test without going to the ASL. There are, in fact, laboratories, pharmacies and specialized and authorized structures where the PCR Test can be booked.

How to find a PCR Covid Test near me

On faiuntestevai, you can find the facility closest to you to make your test. Just search for your municipality or the city where you live, and you can view all the structures that carry out the PCR Test You can choose your appointment by indicating the desired date and time.

PCR Test: how is it done?

The PCR Test involves inserting a cotton swab, similar to a cotton swab, into the nose. The stick is inserted by the operator until it reaches the back of the pharynx and takes a sample of mucus with a slight rotation.

The sample is then analyzed, and the result is available for three to six hours, up to a couple of days, depending on the laboratory technology and the collection day. In fact, often, if you test on the weekend, you can collect the result on the first available working day.

PCR Test self-test in Italy

In addition to the PCR at-home provided in some cases by the ASL, for example, for fragile people or those unable to move, many specialized laboratories and clinics allow you to book the PCR Test for the diagnosis of COVID-19 directly at home.

In this case, the COVID-19 test requires the presence of a specialised operator who takes the sample from the nose and throat and takes it to the analysis laboratory.

The cost for the at-home test is higher than the one in the facility, and the results are available in a couple of days.

What to do if the test is positive?

If you have a positive result for the covid PCR Test, it means that there is an infection in the body.

The positive test provides for the obligation of quarantine and isolation. In this case, quarantine is required up to the confirmation test that certifies recovery, and the attending physician must be notified of any medical treatment. Furthermore, the positive result is reported to the competent health authorities.

The PCR Test at Italian pharmacies

Many pharmacies in Italy offer, in addition to the rapid antigen test, also the PCR nasopharyngeal test. The result is usually available by the early afternoon of the following day. This tampon has a higher cost than the quick one; a reservation is unnecessary in many cases.

To take this test, go to the pharmacy for collection. The test is then sent to the laboratory, and the result can be received directly on your mobile phone.

To do this test, a document and social security number, a mobile number and an email are required. If it is a tampon necessary for a trip abroad, a passport is also required. Since it is a test of international relevance, in most cases, it is available in Italian and English.

The difference between the PCR Test and the Antigen Test for COVID

Although both allow for the detection of infection, the main difference between the two types of tests lies in the type of analysis. In fact, the rapid antigen test searches for the antigens that coat the covid virus, and the test result is received in a few minutes.

PCR tests, on the other hand, detect the presence of viral genes in the body. Results are received in a minimum of six hours. The reliability of the rapid tests is lower than the PCR tests. Above all, the PCR test is the only one that allows you to travel abroad.

For further reading about PCR Covid Test, please check NHS

Written by Dr. Andleeb Asghar | Last updated on 05/09/2022

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