What Is A Covid PCR Test | How Long For Covid Test Results?

A polymerase chain reaction test is used to diagnose people currently infected by COVID-19. The COVID PCR test is the “gold standard” for diagnosing COVID-19.

PCR test for COVID-19 is the most reliable and accurate test for diagnosing COVID-19. A positive test indicates that you possibly have COVID-19. A negative test indicates that you probably did not have COVID-19. So it’s necessary to get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you have been presented with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, then it’s necessary to get tested.

I have already shared a post related to this topic How Do They Test For Coronavirus? I hope you read this post.

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When to get the PCR test?

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you have been exposed to someone who had tested for COVID-19.

I recommend you to read following posts that will help you: First Symptoms Of Covid-19


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How does a COVID-19 PCR test work?

There are three critical steps to the COVID-19 PCR test:

1. Sample collection

Sample collection is done using a swab to obtain respiratory material placed in your nose. A swab carries a soft tip on a long, adjustable stick that is injected into your nose. There are various nose swabs, with nasal swabs that collect a sample instantly under your noses and nasopharyngeal swabs that go further into your nasal hole to collect the sample. Another type of swab is adequate to collect material for the PCR test. After the test, the swab is sealed in a container or tube and then sent to a laboratory.

2. Extraction

When a laboratory technologist collects the sample, they complete an extraction process, which separates genetic material from the collection, including genetic material from any virus that may be existed.

3. PCR

The 3rd PCR step uses special chemicals, and a PCR machine called a thermal cycler. While this process, one of the chemicals produces a fluorescent light if COVID-19 exists in the sample. The PCR machine detects this fluorescent light, and special software interprets it as a positive test result.

How long for PCR covid test results

You receive the results of your test 24 hours after sample collection. But, sometimes, it can take several days depending on long it takes the sample to reach the lab and how many samples are in the queue to be tested.

What does it mean by COVID-19 PCR test results?

positive test result indicates that it is possible having COVID-19. Most people have apparent weaknesses and can recover safely at home even without medical care. Visit your doctor if your symptoms get more dangerous or if you have any concerns.

negative test result indicates that you probably didn’t have COVID-19 when you get tested. However, it is possible to be affected with COVID-19 but not have enough infections in your body to expose the test. For example, it could happen if you recently became infected but don’t have symptoms yet; or if you had COVID-19 for more than a week before getting tested. 

Remember that a negative test doesn’t signify that you are protected for any period. You also can be infected by COVID-19 after your test and spread the COVID-19 virus to others.

If your test comes positive, talk to your doctor, stay home and isolate yourself. If your test comes negative, continue to take steps to defend yourself and others from getting infected by COVID-19.

How promptly are COVID-19 PCR test results achievable?

You can receive the results of your test as early as 24 hours after sample collection. However, sometimes it can take several times depending on how long it takes the sample to reach the lab and how many other samples are in the line to be tested.

Which are the advantages of a COVID-19 PCR test?

The main advantages of the PCR test are its reliability and accuracy. It is the most reliable test for COVID-19 diagnosing.

Must read: If Exposed To Coronavirus: How Long Before Symptoms | How Does Coronavirus Spread?

Which are the disadvantages of a COVID-19 PCR test?

Because the test can recognize tiny amounts of virus material, which can continue to detect particles of the coronavirus even after you have recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer infectious, so you might continue to test positive if you had COVID-19 in the past, even you can’t spread the coronavirus to others.


If you have been infected by people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, you should be tested. First, talk with your family doctor. They will examine your symptoms, then order a test and tell you where you can be tested. Keep in mind that if you’ve been infected with the coronavirus but don’t have symptoms, call the testing site first, make sure they will allow you to be tested.

Suggested: What To Do If You Think You Have Coronavirus?

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