PCR Test

What is a PCR test?

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is used to detect genetic material from a specific type of organism, such as a virus. It is used to determine if a virus is present at the time of the test, and it may detect fragments of the virus even though the infection is gone.

The test works by copying a small amount of genetic material in the sample multiple times, a process called amplification. This then makes it easier to see if there are any pathogens in the sample.

The sample used for a PCR test may be saliva, blood, mucus, or tissue.

There are variations of the PCR test, such as reverse transcriptase PCR, which detects viruses that are made of RNA instead of DNA. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) is another type of PCR test in which the amount of pathogen in the sample is measured, not just detected.

Why is a PCR test important to healthcare?

PCR tests are important diagnostic tools in healthcare that provide valuable information about someone’s current health status.

Some of the uses for a PCR test include:

  • identifying genetic changes that can cause disease
  • diagnosing certain infectious diseases
  • finding small amounts of cancer cells

Unlike other diagnostic tests, a PCR test can find viral evidence even when the infection is in its earliest stages.