Because of the simplicity and cost-effectiveness, PCR tests are the most commonly used tests, especially when testing for coronavirus. Unlike other tests like the antigen tests which detect a protein that is part of the coronavirus, PCR tests detect the genetic material of the coronavirus to determine whether the taken swab samples contain the COVID-19. Most swabs for the PCR testing are usually taken from the nasal pharyngeal since the coronavirus resides in this area. Apart from the worldwide usage, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, PCR tests have several deficiencies. The following are the shortcomings of a PCR swab test.
The first shortcoming of a PCR swab test is in regards to giving false-negative results. To make effective efforts to contain the coronavirus, accurate data needs to be analyzed and thereafter plans and strategies made to plan for the same. This is the part where the PCR tests are inefficient in that they give false-negatives from a range of 2%-37%. The false negatives usually arise from testing an individual who’s infected by the virus but it’s still at the earliest stages.
The second shortcoming of a PCR test is in regards to time efficiency in waiting for results. On many occasions, a PCR test usually takes a longer period from the time they are received at the labs for examination up to the time the results ought to be given out. Sometimes, especially in third-world countries, one has to wait for more than four days to get his or her results.
The last shortcoming of the PCR SWAB test is in regards to the discomfort while taking the swab sample. This is one of the most common reasons people are so reluctant to get a PCR test. The swabs are usually inserted up to the area where the sinuses meet the throat. This significantly causes discomfort in that particular area and also in the nose.
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