How virus RNA is isolated and identified
Basic RT-PCR Testing
Testing for COVID-19 involves a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay*, which attaches fluorescent markers to genetic material from the virus and generates millions of copies to create a fluorescent signal if the virus is present.
- A throat or nasal swab is taken, designed to capture virus genetic material.
- SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, so its genetic material is more transient and fragile than DNA.
- Samples should ideally be transported to testing laboratories on ice or in special media to prevent them from degrading.
- An assay is an analysis done to determine: The presence of a substance and the amount of that substance
- Text adapted from https://www.asianscientist.com/2020/04/features/covid-19-diagnostics-explained/
- Image Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)