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Coronavirus: Screening

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL3782, tabled on 30 April 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what use is being made of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Answered on

1 June 2020

Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), is used in many laboratories to test patient samples for the COVID-19 virus.

RT-PCR is used for detecting certain viruses to help diagnose infection. It is being used throughout the United Kingdom to detect the COVID-19 virus. RT-PCR makes millions of copies of a virus’ genetic material and these can be detected on laboratory equipment. If this equipment detects a signal, it means the test is positive (virus detected). If the equipment does not detect a signal, it means the test is negative (no virus detected).