We understand how confusing reading a report can get with all the terms that you are unfamiliar with. Therefore, here we will elaborate the meaning of terms that usually come across while reading a Covid RT-PCR test report.
But before jumping directly on that, let’s understand.
What is the RT-PCR Test?
The RT-PCR test is considered the most validated diagnostic test to recognize Covid-19 positive cases. The term RT-PCR in the Covid RT-PCR test report stands for Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction. It provides basic information in order to detect the genetic material of a virus, i.e., SARS-CO-2, that causes COVID-19 disease.
Who Should Take the Covid RT-PCR Test?
Not only the people who are facing the symptoms of Covid should take the RT-PCR test but also those who traveled and came from a place that was severely affected by covid-19. Nowadays, the RT-PCR test is also the only test acceptable for traveling and work in hospitals, offices, etc because of its higher percentage of accuracy. After the appearance of Covid symptoms, these samples are more valid within the first week. As viral loads decline after the next couple of weeks. The Covid RT-PCR test report is more likely to be negative after the four weeks of symptom onset.
Usually, this Covid RT-PCR test report takes a little longer time as compared to other antibodies tests. Because, in the procedure of detecting the virus, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, i.e., RNA (a single helix genetic material) is converted into DNA (a double helix genetic material). This process is known as reverse transcription. In order to take the Covid RT-PCR test, the sample is usually collected from a patient’s nose along with the throat by the doctor, nurse, lab pathologist, or certified healthcare professional, etc.
Some Important Terms of Covid RT-PCR Test
The Covid RT-PCR test report usually contains the details of the person like name, age, dob, along with the date when the sample was taken. Apart from that, the Covid test report also contains the terms like “Ct value” where Ct stands for cycle threshold. It determines whether the patient report is positive or negative. In simple words, the Ct value is basically the no. of cycles after which the virus can be detected. The patients whose Ct value is less than 35 are considered as Covid positive. Whereas the patients whose Ct value is over 35 are considered as Covid negative.
Target Genes – Ct value is concluded based on Target Genes that are basically three Gene, i.e., RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene, N gene, and E gene.
RDRP Gene – It stands for RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene which is basically an essential protein for viral RNA replication. RDRP is considered a promising drug target to treat Covid-19.
N Gene – It is basically a nucleocapsid protein gene that forms complexes with genomic RNA and plays an important role in improving the performance of virus transcription & assembly.
E Gene – It stands for envelope protein gene is a small integral membrane protein that plays a vital role in the assembly of virions.
What Does a Positive Covid RT-PCR Test Report Mean?
If the report is positive, then it means that you are currently infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
What Does a Negative Covid RT-PCR Test Report Mean?
If the report is negative, then it means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of the test.
That’s all! Now you know all about the important terms in the COVID RT-PCR Test report. To fight this virus, testing is our only hope. Other than testing, it is important to wear a mask, follow social distance, and all necessary precautions to keep viruses at bay.