Molecular tests designed to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 by measuring very small amounts of the virus’s genetic material.

PCR and Molecular COVID-19 Testing also known as: Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) RT-PCR PCR is a general covid screening test.

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  • Molecular COVID-19 tests are designed to detect an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • The most well-known molecular test uses a laboratory method known as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) that is often called PCR.
  • PCR and molecular tests work by looking for the virus’s genetic material in your test sample, which is usually taken by swabbing your nose or throat. Molecular tests analyzed by a laboratory are generally considered to be the most accurate method of diagnosing COVID-19.
  • A molecular test is used for diagnosis when a person has signs or symptoms of COVID-19. It is used for screening in people who are asymptomatic but who may have had exposure to the virus, such as through close contact with an infected person.
  • In some cases, a laboratory-based molecular test is used to confirm the results of other types of tests. For example, a follow-up PCR analyzed by a laboratory may be used after a rapid test, at-home test, or COVID-19 antigen test.

How the test is performed:

Sample collection

  • A fluid sample is collected by inserting a long nasal swab (nasopharyngeal swab) into your nostril and taking fluid from the back of your nose or by using a shorter nasal swab (mid-turbinate swab) to get a sample.
  • In some cases, a long swab is inserted into the back of your throat (oropharyngeal swab), or you may spit into a tube to produce a saliva sample
  • To conduct the test, genetic material is isolated from your test sample and then is copied many times. That genetic material can be analyzed for traces of SARS-CoV-2, and, because of the copying process, even small amounts can be detected.
  • Nucleic acids are the genetic material that is analyzed, and the copying process is known as amplification. For that reason, nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) is the technical name for this kind of molecular testing.
  • There are various types of laboratory methods to conduct this type of testing. RT-PCR has been commonly used in COVID-19 testing. Examples of other methods that may be used in NAAT include loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), transcription mediated amplification (TMA), nicking endonuclease amplification reaction (NEAR), strand displacement amplification (SDA), clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), and helicase-dependent amplification (HDA).
  • When should I get a PCR or molecular COVID-19 Test?
  • There are a range of different circumstances in which a molecular COVID-19 test can be appropriate.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, a PCR test or other molecular test is regarded as the most reliable method to determine whether you have COVID-19. In these cases, the test is used in the process of diagnosis.
  • A molecular test can also be used for screening. If you have no symptoms, you may get a molecular test if:
  • You have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You have been in situations at high risk of viral transmission, such as travel or large gatherings of people.
  • You live or work in an environment like a correctional facility, nursing home, or homeless shelter where there is an elevated risk of viral spread or severe cases of COVID-19.
  • You are going to have a medical procedure like a surgery or a procedure that generates tiny air particles known as aerosols.
  • You are going to start taking a medication that affects your immune system.
  • You are required to provide a negative test result by your employer, in order to travel, or to take part in another activity.
  • Because there are many different applications of molecular COVID-19 tests, your doctor can best explain whether this kind of testing is appropriate in your situation.
  • It is also important to note that who should get tested with a PCR or other molecular test can depend on available testing capacity in your area. When resources for testing are limited, certain uses of testing may be prioritized.
  • These types of laboratory techniques are not used exclusively for COVID-19. They can also be used to detect other kinds of viruses, and tests are available that can analyze the same test sample for SARS-CoV-2 as well as different strains of flu.
  • Can I take the test at home?
    • At-home PCR tests are available both with and without a prescription. At-home molecular COVID-19 tests generally fall within two categories:
    • At-home self-collection tests: In these tests, you take a swab of your nose or throat or collect a saliva sample and send that sample by mail to a laboratory. Results are normally available within a few days after
    • your sample is received by the lab.
    • At-home self-tests: These tests also involve taking your own test sample, but that sample is then analyzed at home using a device that is included in your test kit. These tests often provide results within 30
    • With either type of at-home test, it is essential to follow the test kit’s instructions for properly collecting your sample and avoiding potential sources of contamination.

Note : While at-home tests are generally accurate, they are not considered to be as reliable as standard laboratory testing. Rapid tests are more susceptible to an inaccurate result than tests processed in a lab.

If you test positive, you should contact your doctor, who may want to perform a repeat PCR. You or your doctor may also need to contact your state health department that is responsible for tracking the number of COVID-19 cases.

  • Results interpretation
  • The test result is generally listed as either positive or negative.
  • A positive result means that traces of SARS-CoV-2 virus genetic material were found in the test sample.
  • A negative test indicates that no genetic material of the virus was present in your sample.

In most cases, this means that you do not have COVID-19. However, a false negative result can occur if testing is done shortly after being infected.

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Why Us ?

Why Iris Laboratories?

Irismed Lab has a team of 200 senior pathologists and over 2000 technicians delivering diagnostic solutions in the areas of routine, semi specialty and super specialty domains like Oncology, Neurology, Gynaecology, Nephrology and many more. We offer a comprehensive range of 4000+ clinical laboratory tests and profiles, which are used for prediction, early detection, diagnostic screening, confirmation and/or monitoring of the disease.

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Trusted by Leading Doctors

Over 2000+ Scientific Officers

Proficiency Testing for Accurate Reports

How is blood sample collected?

There is no known risk involved for removing a small amount of blood from the body.
The phlebotomist:
  • Cleans your arm
  • Inserts a needle (the needle prick may slightly sting or can feel a pinch)
  • Removes the required amount of blood in the syringe
  • And collects the blood in a tube
  • Removes the needle
  • Place a bandage on the arm


  • Sometimes, more than one tube of blood may be collected depending upon the number of tests to be performed
  • For neonates or infants, needle may be inserted in the heel

Did you know?

Giving a small amount of blood for testing purposes does not harm your body. Your body will quickly rebuild it back in the blood supply. There are more than 100 tests that can be performed that can be correlated with more than hundreds of conditions. To know more, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes our laboratory is accredited by the NABL (National Accreditation Board of Testing and Calibration of Laboratories) India & College of American Pathologists (CAP). This accreditation process is carried out every 2 years for NABL & annually for CAP with periodic internal audits carried out twice in a year. All our aforementioned tests are accredited by NABL & CAP.
TruHealth is an expert and comprehensive inner health wellness by Metropolis. It helps you monitor and maintain your inner health parameters better, so that you are ready to achieve your dreams, always.Metropolis TruHealth – Because Health is Everything.
SMART report covers a comprehensive view of your lifestyle related diseases and risk analysis, health recommendations, reminders and recommended reflex tests. Get regular communications to monitor and maintain your inner health.
Reports will be delivered on your registered email id with a TAT (Turnaround time) of 24 hours.
We will deliver reports on your email id, check the email received from Metropolis India. You can also download it by signing in to your profile in our website or in TruHealth App
You can select the best health package suited to you based on your gender, age and lifestyle.
Additional Home Visit and Safety charges will be applicable for all test and Health packages.
We collect samples from home between 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. we offer Blood collection service on Sunday’s as well.
Doctor’s prescription is not required if you avail any wellness package. For any illness test, prescription might be required.
Test samples are processed at our regional laboratories in various cities – Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Banaglore, Delhi and more. You can check out more information here – Our Labs


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