What Does A Quantitative PCR Test Show?

As you plan around Covid-related travel restrictions and loved ones’ health needs, PCR testing is an important tool to consider to keep people safe. But with multiple types of PCR tests available, it can be tough to know which one you need. Read on to learn more about quantitative PCR tests and find out if they are right for you.

Understanding how PCR tests work

PCR tests detect the genetic material of Covid-19, and thus can detect Covid-19 at earlier stages of infection than antigen tests, which detect viral proteins. The increased sensitivity of PCR tests also makes them more accurate than antigen tests.

PCR test samples can take the form of nasal swab, throat swab, or saliva collection (spitting into a tube). DIY kits are available for RT-PCR tests, but rapid PCR tests and quantitative PCR tests are currently only available through healthcare providers.


RT-PCR tests, also known as real time PCR tests, are considered the “gold standard” in accuracy to detect Covid-19. These tests require lab processing, with typical turnaround time for results ranging from 24-72 hours. These tests require a nasal or throat swab to detect a Covid-19 infection.

DIY RT-PCR test kits allow you to self-collect samples and mail them to a lab. It should be noted, however, that the way samples are stored can affect the accuracy of results.

Rapid PCR tests

Rapid PCR tests are almost as accurate as RT-PCR tests, but offer results in just 15-45 minutes from a nasal or throat swab. These tests are available from healthcare providers who can process results without lab access.

Rapid PCR tests, although over 95% accurate, may miss an infection during the first few days or a week after infection, when viral cell counts are lowest.

Quantitative PCR tests

Unlike RT-PCR or rapid PCR tests, which detect whether someone is infected with Covid-19, quantitative PCR tests measure the viral load of Covid-19. In other words, quantitative PCR tests determine the volume of Covid-19 cells in the body. High viral loads of Covid-19 in the body have been linked to a higher likelihood of severe symptoms according to a study.

Studying how viral load can affect the progression of Covid-19 is an important part of furthering treatment. Your healthcare provider will let you know if a quantitative PCR test is necessary.

Drip Hydration Can Bring PCR Testing To You This Holiday Season

Let Drip Hydration help bring you peace of mind this holiday season with our mobile Covid-19 PCR testing services. You can call or click to schedule an appointment for one of our Registered Nurses to come to your home and administer Covid-19 tests. Depending on which test you choose, results will either be processed onsite or samples taken back to a lab for processing.

Should someone test positive, our experts can offer advice on what steps to take to keep everyone safe. Busy families can get the entire household tested at once while taking advantage of our progressive group discounts.

Let Drip Hydration show you how convenient Covid safety can be. Reach out today!