PCR (polymerase chain reaction) TestingPolymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is the gold standard. It can detect minimal amounts of viral genetic material in a sample by duplicating it many times over through a complex laboratory process called amplification.
COVID-19 PCR testing is used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, in this case the COVID-19 virus, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies.
By detecting viral RNA, PCR testing can detect whether or not someone has been infected by the virus within hours of infection/exposure.
PCR provides the highest sensitivity at 90-95% and is the best indicator of who is infected.
Positive patients can be isolated and contact people they have potentially exposed.
The highest advantages of PCR testing are knowing who is confirmed infected and where each can break the transmission chain.