In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) swab test emerged as a critical diagnostic tool for detecting the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. The public might have grown familiar with it because it was a requirement to test negative through a PCR test when travelling.
With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Singapore, it has become increasingly important for individuals to understand how crucial this widely used diagnostic test is. In this blog, we will explore the procedure of the PCR swab test, its types, accuracy, and the numerous benefits it offers in the fight against COVID-19.
What is a PCR Swab Test?
A PCR swab test is a diagnostic method for detecting the presence of viral genetic material, specifically the RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To accurately detect the virus, the test involves healthcare professionals collecting a respiratory sample from the patient using a swab and then processing it in a laboratory to identify and amplify the viral RNA.
Types of PCR Swab Test
PCR swab tests have two main types of sample collection areas: nasal swab and throat swab.
This involves inserting a long swab into the nostril to collect a sample from the upper part of the throat behind the nose. Nasopharyngeal swabs are commonly used in PCR testing due to their high sensitivity.
This method collects a sample from the back of the throat using a throat swab. It may be used as an alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs, especially if a patient finds nasopharyngeal swabs uncomfortable or if suitable swabs are unavailable.
Accuracy of PCR Swab Test
PCR swab tests are highly accurate in detecting the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but various factors can affect their accuracy.
Timing of the Test
PCR tests are most reliable when performed during the active infection phase when the viral load is highest. Testing too early or too late in the infection may result in false-negative results.
The quality of the sample collected plays a crucial role in accurate test results. Improper collection techniques or insufficient sample material may lead to false-negative results.
Adequate laboratory protocols and skilled technicians are essential for precise processing and analysis of the collected samples.
Benefits of PCR Swab Test
PCR swab testing has several advantages over other COVID-19 testing methods, contributing to its widespread use:
High Sensitivity and Specificity
PCR tests accurately detect even low levels of viral genetic material due to their high sensitivity. Furthermore, they reduce the likelihood of false-positive results by being highly specific.
PCR swab testing allows for the early detection of COVID-19, enabling prompt isolation and medical intervention. Early identification helps prevent further transmission and reduces the severity of the disease.
PCR testing facilitates effective contact tracing by identifying individuals who may have been exposed to the virus. This helps in implementing appropriate quarantine measures and curbing the spread of the disease.
Monitoring Disease Spread
PCR swab testing provides crucial data for public health officials to monitor the prevalence and spread of the virus within communities. This information aids in making informed decisions regarding containment measures and resource allocation.
Get a convenient PCR swab test with Camtech
Camtech’s PCR test utilises the ProTect Covid-19 RT-PCR kit developed by JN Medsys, and is one of the first Covid-19 kits in Singapore to obtain provisional authorisation. Our laboratory is a MOH approved provider operating under PHMC license. The kit has also been granted Pandemic Special Access Route, allowing it to be continued to be used in Singapore for Covid-19 testing.
We are offering two options to get tested for Covid-19.
Access our Covid-19 PCR services conveniently at our premises or by scheduling a home visit for sample collection.
Receive your results through a digital health certificate sent to you via SMS and email within 24 hours. All our health certificates are notarised and authenticated, making it easy when you need it for travel.
Get the cheapest PCR swab test at Camtech by making a booking today.