In New Zealand, we currently use a ‘PCR’ test to find out if someone is infected with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease called Covid-19.
The PCR test is so precise that it can tell the difference between the seven coronaviruses that are known to cause diseases in humans.
The PCR test looks for the genetic material of the virus in a swab sample taken from a person’s nose or throat. It involves making lots of copies of a piece of the virus’s genetic material so we can see if it is there or not.
PCR is also one of the most important techniques that we use in our research at the Otago Department of Biochemistry.
But how does it actually work?
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Source: University of Otago