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Covid - 19 RT PCR Test

COVID-19 is the illness that is caused by infection with the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. The PCR test is a type of molecular test that is used to identify an active infection with SARS-CoV-2.

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What is a Covid - 19? 

COVID-19 is the illness that is caused by infection with the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.


What is the RT PCR test? 

The RT PCR test is a type of molecular test that is used to identify an active infection with SARS-CoV-2.

PCR test uses a technique called reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect the viruses from the genetic material. Test samples are usually saliva or a swab taken from your nose or throat.

Different options exist for at-home PCR testing. The home collection kits involve taking a sample at home and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. And the self-tests include a device for analysing your sample rapidly at home without the need to mail it to a lab.


What are the other names for a Covid - RT PCR test? 

SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) Qualitative PCR test, COVID-19 RT-PCR Test


What are the test parameters included in a Covid - RT PCR test? 

SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) Qualitative PCR Test


What does a Covid - RT PCR test measure?

  • An at-home PCR test analyses whether your sample includes components of the genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The PCR testing technique is part of the group of molecular tests known as nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs). This test makes many copies of the genetic material that is found in your test sample and then analyses those copies for traces of the virus. As a result of this copying process, even a very small number of the viruses in the genetic material can be detected.

  • A positive test result means the presence of an active COVID-19 infection. Most people have a mild illness and can get better safely at home without the need for hospitalisation. Connect with your doctor if any symptoms worsen or if you have any questions or concerns.

  • A negative test result means the absence of an active infection at the time of sample collection. However, it does not mean that you are safe for any length of time. You can get infected with COVID-19 and spread the virus to others at any time after testing. 

  • If you test positive, stay at home, separate yourself from all others, and keep in touch with your doctor. If you have tested negative, continue to take measures to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19. 


What’s the normal range of the RT PCR test? 




Who should get a Covid - RT PCR test?

Your healthcare provider may recommend the testing for COVID-19 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills.

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches.

  • Headache

  • Loss of taste or smell.

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose.

  • Nausea or vomiting.

  • Diarrhoea.

Not everyone with COVID-19 develops symptoms. Not all symptomatic people will develop all of the symptoms listed above. Please check with your healthcare provider if you are feeling unwell during the COVID-19 pandemic — even if you’ve been vaccinated.

Preparations needed for The Covid - RT PCR test 

Fasting is not required for this test. A government ID card (Aadhar card preferred) is mandatory for sample collection. No special preparation is required.

What is the cost of a Covid - RT PCR Test?

What is the type of sample required?

This test requires a throat swab and nasal swab sample.


Who performs a Covid - RT PCR Test?

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

  1. Sample collection: A healthcare provider uses a swab to collect the respiratory material found in your nose. The swab is the soft tip with a long, flexible stick that goes into your nose. There are different types of nose swabs, including the nasal swabs that collect a sample immediately inside your nostrils and the nasopharyngeal swabs that go further into the nasal cavity for collection. Either the type of the swab is sufficient for collecting the material for the COVID-19 PCR test. After the collection, the swab is sealed in a tube and then sent to a laboratory.

  2. Extraction:  When the laboratory scientist receives the sample, they isolate the (extract) genetic material from the rest of the material in the sample.

  3. PCR: The PCR step then uses a special type of chemical and enzyme and a PCR machine called a thermal cycler. Each heating and cooling cycle increases (amplifies) the number of the targeted genetic material in the test tube. After so many cycles, millions of copies of a small portion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic material are present in the test tube. The chemicals in the tube that produce a fluorescent light if SARS-CoV-2 is present in the sample mean that once it is amplified enough, the PCR machine can detect this signal. Scientists use special software to interpret the signal as a positive test result.


What should I expect during my Covid - RT PCR Test ?

For a COVID-19 diagnostic test, a health care professional takes a sample of mucus from the nose or throat or a sample of saliva. This specimen needed for diagnostic testing may be collected at your doctor's office, a healthcare facility, or a drive-up testing centre.

  • Nose or throat swab.  A long nasal swab (nasopharyngeal swab) has been recommended, though a shorter or very short nasal swab or throat swab is acceptable. The healthcare professional inserts a thin and flexible stick with a cotton ball at the tip into your nose or brushes the swab along the back of your throat to collect a sample of mucus. This may be somewhat uncomfortable.

  • For the nasal sample, swabbing may occur in both nostrils to collect enough mucus for this test. The swab remains in place briefly before being gently rotated and being pulled out. The sample gets sealed into a tube and sent to the lab for analysis.

  • If you have a productive cough, your health care provider may also collect a sputum sample, which contains secretions from the lungs, a part of the lower respiratory system. The virus is more concentrated in the nose and the throat early in the course of the infection. But after more than five to six days of the symptoms, the viruses tend to be more concentrated in the lower respiratory system.


What should I expect after my Covid - RT PCR Test?

After the healthcare provider has collected your throat and nasal swab samples, they will send them to a laboratory for testing. Once the test results are ready, your healthcare provider will share them with you.

When can I expect my Covid - RT PCR Test results?

These reports are available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours of the collection of the blood sample.

What do the results of a Covid - RT PCR Test mean?

  • Positive result: This means you currently have an active infection with the viruses that cause COVID-19. Take the appropriate steps to take care of yourself. Avoid spreading the virus to others.

  • Negative result: This means that you don't have an infection with the COVID-19 virus. But the false-negative test result could happen due to the timing and/or quality of the test sample. If you have any symptoms, stay away from others around you. Your doctor may recommend for repeat testing if you continue to have symptoms.

  • Even if you test negative now, you could become infected in the future. So it is very important to follow the guidelines such as face mask use in indoor public spaces and regular hand-washing to avoid potential spread.

What are normal Covid - RT PCR Test results?

  • A negative test result means you probably don't have the infection for SARS-CoV-2 at the time your specimen was collected. However, it is possible to have a COVID-19 test but not have the virus detected by the test. For example, this may happen if you have recently become infected but you don’t have symptoms yet  — or it could happen if you've had  COVID-19 for more than a week before being tested.  A negative test doesn’t mean that you are safe for any length of time; you can get exposed to COVID-19 after your test, get infected and spread the SARS-Cov-2 virus to others.


What other tests might I have along with this test?

You can perform Anti SARS CoV2 IgG.

FAQs on RT PCR Test

1. Why take Covid 19 RT PCR test ?

A Covid-19 RT PCR test is a molecular test that analyses the Covid infection. If you are having any chills, fever, shortness of breath, headache, or body aches, you are advised to take the COVID RT PCR test.

2. What are the ways to prevent COVID-19?

You should always wear a mask when you are in a public place or in an office. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper or with a handkerchief while coughing or sneezing. Maintain a safe distance from other people, at least 1 meter. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer or hand rub. Take a vaccination and stay at home if you feel unwell.


3. What are the requirements for the COVID-19 RT-PCR test?

An Aadhaar card is mandatory for the COVID-19 RT PCR test for registration and address confirmation as per the ICMR guidelines. If Aadhaar is not available, then the passport number should be given for the same with a mobile number.

4. In what ways is COVID-19 transmitted?

Viruses spread mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, for example, in crowded places at a conversational distance. The viruses may spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small droplets or liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing, and breathe.


5. What is the rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19?

Rapid diagnostic testing of a sample of the respiratory tract of a person helps to detect the viral proteins (antigens) related to a covid-19 virus. This ensures a speedy and accurate diagnosis.

6. How to book a Covid - RT PCR test at home?

Log on to and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.

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