Nurse holding positive corona test

The 30-Minute Accula Rapid PCR Test, Explained

If you’ve been exposed to someone who has Covid-19 or have noticed you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, getting tested is the most effective way to know if you need to self-quarantine. Although the RT-PCR is the gold standard of Covid-19 tests, it can take 3 or more days to get results – a timeframe that may be longer with the increased demand in tests and backlogs at laboratories. The Accula Rapid PCR test offers the same accuracy of standard RT-PCR tests, but within 30 minutes of your appointment.

What is the Accula Rapid PCR test?

The Accula Rapid PCR test is effectively a portable version of the RT-PCR test and was developed by Mesa Biotech in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Much like the standard RT-PCR test, this rapid PCR test is administered as a nasal swab. Instead of being sent to a laboratory for processing, however, the Accula test can be processed onsite using a portable device. Once the test cassette has been inserted into the machine, your results are available within 30 minutes.

What’s the difference between the rapid PCR and the RT-PCR tests?


  • Both tests are molecular tests which are designed to detect genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus
  • Both tests require a nasal swab sample to be administered
  • Both tests are highly accurate and have low returns of false positives and false negatives


  • The Accula rapid PCR test can be processed onsite for results within 30 minutes
  • The Standard RT-PCR test must be sent to a lab to be processed for results within 3 business days (not including potential backlogs and testing delays)

Is this test FDA approved?

The Accula Rapid PCR test is not yet FDA approved. The test is authorized for use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

How does the Accula Rapid PCR test compare to a rapid antigen test?

The Accula Rapid PCR test and the rapid antigen test both provide results quickly, but the two tests are not the same and work differently.

  • The rapid antigen test is designed to detect proteins located on the surface of the virus instead of RNA like the rapid PCR test
  • The Accula Rapid PCR test is administered as a nasal swab
  • The rapid antigen test can be administered as a saliva sample or a nasal swab

Although the rapid antigen test returns very accurate results within 15 minutes, it is important to know that it is considered less accurate than the RT-PCR test. Depending on your circumstances, your clinician may recommend that you get a follow-up standard or rapid PCR test to verify the results of a rapid antigen test.

How can you get an Accula Rapid PCR test?

The Accula Rapid PCR test is available at select clinics, doctors offices, and drive-in centers. It’s recommended that you check with the center to see if it offers this test prior to booking an appointment.

You can also get Covid-19 testing without leaving your home with Drip Hydration.

Safe And Easy Accula Rapid PCR Tests At Home With Drip Hydration

Drip Hydration brings Covid-19 tests to you for safe and convenient testing. Our in-home appointments are simple.

One of our nurses comes to your home with all of the necessary equipment for your rapid PCR test. They will collect a nasal swab sample from you and insert the sample into a handheld processing station. Your results will be available 30 minutes later. Your nurse will explain the results of your test and provide guidance if you or someone in your family tests positive for Covid-19.