Covid Testing At Home: What Should You Know About The Concept?

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covid testing at home
Source: nbcnews

The efforts of delivering proper vaccination are gaining pace all over the world. However, that does not mean people are out of covid danger already. Regular testing and proper vaccination are two very important factors that can help slow down transmission. However, that requires a trip to the clinic or the hospital, at least. With facilities like covid testing at home, people do not have to travel to any other place.

In the last few months, the FDA has announced permission for covid testing at home. Not just testing from your comfort zone but also quicker results. It is now just a matter of few minutes before you can get to know the test results. If you had undergone a covid test from home last year, it is most likely that swab testing took place.

The doctors use real-time RT-PCR technology to examine the swab and come up with results. It is one of the best and most precise methods to detect pathogens and viruses such as coronavirus, Ebola, Zika, and more. Moreover, the coronavirus comes with just one RNA strand. It is for genetic material and very different from the composition of the DNA. 

In the case of the coronavirus, it can’t multiply independently. It means that a host is mandatory for coronavirus reproduction. So, what these pathogens do is affect the good cells of the body to make them hosts. Therefore, based on these affected cells, the virus multiplies inside the body. 

What is the method of detection used for covid testing at home? 

The RT-PCR technology replicates the process and first converts all coronavirus RNA in a sample to DNA. We call this the reverse transcription. After that, the experts create billions of copies of the same genetic material and mark them with fluorescent dye for better identification. 

The whole process here is another version of a general PCR method only. It is a method that studies pathogens when they are in the DNA form. As a result, there is no requirement for further amplification at all. While the process is a little time-consuming, it is very accurate and sensitive too. 

Now, there is a significant disadvantage of the PCR method used for covid testing at home too. It is that the procedure can only analyze any pathogens present in the samples. Therefore, there is usually no way to detect whether or not a person was infected earlier on.

Sometimes, home testing also depends on the isothermal amplification method. Just like in the PCR method, this type also creates numerous coronavirus copies. Further, the genetic material helps in the detection of pathogens you were looking for. Despite IA not being an exact method than PCR, it is undoubtedly better than many others used for home testing. 

Not every method shows the most precise results during covid tests

There is a BinaxNOW test capable of detecting the virus only more than 50% times in symptomatic people. However, the figure falls below 35% if an asymptomatic person undergoes the same test. It is because the antigen test, in this case, does not follow the reverse transcription process. However, such tests are cheaper than a proper PCR test. 

On the other hand, it is becoming a significant issue with the increasing crowd at clinics and hospitals. Firstly, the medical staff can’t look into every matter when there are so many people. 

Besides, it is very tough to maintain social distancing and other rules in such a situation. As a result, the possibility of infection goes up automatically. Therefore, several companies are now starting to manufacture home-testing kits. 

The US government and President Joe Biden are also eagerly looking into the matter. He is ready to fund home-based covid testing for the overall safety of the people in America. However, there is still some time till this method becomes pervasive. 

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