How Does A Rapid PCR Test Work?

Whether you’re getting ready to go on a trip, returning to the office after months of working from home, or have just been exposed to someone with Covid-19 – you’ll likely find yourself needing to get tested one way or another. With so many great options out there, you may be starting to wonder which type of Covid test is the best option. Today, we will explain how a rapid PCR test works and how it compares to other testing methods, such as traditional PCR tests and rapid antigen tests.

What is a rapid PCR test?

The rapid PCR is a newer method for testing for Covid-19 that was recently approved by the FDA. Rapid PCR tests are an exciting new form of Covid testing because they combine the accuracy of a PCR test with the quick turnaround time of a rapid test. These Covid tests typically only take about 15 minutes to provide results.

Rapid PCR tests are an ideal option for anyone who needs accurate results quickly, such as someone who needs same-day results for travel or if you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms and want to know right away whether you’re infected or not.

How do rapid PCR tests work?

Rapid PCR tests are nasal swab diagnostics. They work by detecting specific genetic materials belonging to the virus. PCR tests look for the material that is found inside the virus on a molecular level, rather than looking for the proteins that are found on the virus’ surface, as antigen tests do.

How do rapid PCR tests compare to other testing options?

Many people have heard of traditional RT-PCR tests and the rapid antigen tests. You may be wondering how the technology and accuracy of the rapid PCR test compare to those of the other testing options.

Rapid antigen tests

The rapid PCR test works much differently than the rapid antigen tests that many individuals are currently familiar with. The rapid antigen test looks for protein fragments that are specific to the coronavirus. However, these proteins are often found on the virus’ surface, making the rapid antigen test slightly less accurate and more likely to produce a false negative or false positive.

Rapid antigen tests are considered the ideal form of testing if you are currently experiencing Covid-19 symptoms since you will receive your results almost immediately. Typically, rapid antigen tests only take about 15-20 minutes to get your results.

RT-PCR tests

Traditional RT-PCR tests work a lot more like a rapid PCR test because these Covid tests look for the genetic material of the virus which is found inside of the virus. This makes the PCR style of testing much more accurate. RT-PCR tests can detect Covid-19 within a few days of the infection and can even give accurate results before symptoms have begun.

Since traditional RT-PCR tests take a few days to offer results, it can create an inconvenience for individuals who are waiting to travel or are needing to quarantine in the meantime. Rapid PCR tests offer a solution by giving individuals the accuracy of RT-PCR tests with the quick results of a rapid antigen test.

When to get tested for Covid-19

It is important to be aware of when you should get tested for Covid so you can take steps to break the chain of transmission of the virus.

There are a few unique situations that will result in the need for a Covid-19 test.

  • If you are currently experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat, chest pain, or loss of smell or taste, you should get tested as quickly as possible so that you can begin quarantining and notify any colleagues or family members of potential exposure.
  • Another reason to get tested for Covid is if you plan to travel soon. All inbound and outbound travelers should plan to get tested for Covid-19 before getting on an airplane. If you’re leaving the country, you may need to present negative test results depending on your destination.
  • If you’ve recently returned from a trip, you’ll need to get tested to make sure that you weren’t exposed in transit. This will allow you to return to your day-to-day activities without the concern of possibly infecting others.
  • Finally, if you’ve been exposed to someone else who tested positive for Covid-19, you’ll need to take a test to confirm whether or not you were infected with the virus.

No one likes to have to put their life on hold to quarantine. It can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that by self-isolating after being exposed to Covid, you’ll be potentially saving the lives of anyone you come into contact with. Nevertheless, it is always better to err on the side of caution, and with so many accessible testing options out there, confirming whether you’re infected or not shouldn’t be too difficult.

What to do if you’re experiencing Covid symptoms

If you start to come down with cold or flu symptoms, it is important that you take certain precautions to prevent the spread of infection and protect the general population. This is especially important now that Covid-19 is here, as it’s impossible to tell whether you have Covid or the flu without a diagnostic tests.

Here, we’ve summarized some recommendations from the CDC.

  • Stay home unless you have to leave to get medical care. Wear a mask when you do have to go anywhere and try to get tested for Covid-19 as quickly as possible to determine if you are infected.
  • Avoid public transportation as well as crowded, indoor areas.
  • Distance yourself from others as much as possible.
  • Stay hydrated and get as much rest as possible.

Where can you get a rapid PCR?

Now that we’ve established that the rapid PCR test is likely the best option for anyone who needs accurate Covid results fast, you may be wondering where you can find one of these tests. Rapid PCR tests are quickly becoming available in many walk-in clinics, testing centers, and even airports throughout the United States. Check for testing locations in your area to determine if they offer rapid PCR tests.

By far, one of the most convenient Covid-19 testing options would be using an in-home test provider. These mobile testing services will come directly to your location at your convenience.

In-home testing is safe and simple:

  • Simply contact the testing service to schedule an appointment
  • A certified nurse will come directly to your home with all of the required paperwork and materials
  • Get swabbed and receive your rapid results within minutes so that you can figure out if you need to start quarantining or can get on with your life

In-home testing makes Covid-19 tests an absolute breeze and is easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules. It is also a safer option since you won’t have to go anywhere and risk the possibility of getting others sick, which helps prevent the spread of the virus.

Drip Hydration Can Help You Get Same-Day Answers At Home

If you are looking for a convenient, fast, and accurate Covid-19 test, Drip Hydration can help. Serving multiple locations all over the United States, we make getting fast and accurate test results a simple and straightforward process. Offering individual testing as well as group and corporate testing, Drip Hydration serves just about anyone who needs a Covid-19 test, ultimately working to keep the population safer.

We offer the latest in Covid-19 testing with fast and accurate rapid Accula PCR tests that can provide results in 30 minutes. Whether you need same-day results to protect your loved ones or because you plan to travel soon, a rapid PCR test is by far the best testing option. Contact us at the link below to schedule an appointment.



Processing your booking, please wait... Please don't close the browser window until you see the confirmation page (can take longer for larger bookings).