Respiratory Panels – What you need to know about them
Respiratory infections are frightening and sometimes fatal events. To keep them under control and get patients the care they need before serious symptoms or permanent damage occurs, fast tests are crucial.
There are many types of tests for infections, however, but each come with their pros and cons.
Are PCR-based Panels Effective?
Polymerase Chain Reaction is a process in which medical specialists take a sample to detect the presence of a virus. The technique isolates specific sequences of genetic material and rapidly replicates them, so their presence is noticeable.
If the virus is not present, it is unlikely that these tests will return positive. When samples do contain the targeted virus, PCR takes this data and creates lots of copies so that it becomes noticeable.
There are many infections this approach detects; however, it is not a universal tool. Different tests test for different things (similar to how flu tests could not identify COVID-19). A respiratory viral panel, or RVP, can include any number of these tests.
These tests are very accurate, however, sometimes this sensitivity means that tests come back positive despite infections reaching a state of “no longer clinically relevant.” In other words, tests come back positive after symptoms are over or tests just detect “remains.”
This sensitivity is not a terrible thing. It means that it helps with asymptomatic cases which is incredibly important in terms of contagious infections and preserving the safety of society.
However, it does make things a bit confusing for determining the culprits behind certain cases. For example, over a hundred adults received weekly RVP testing for an entire year for a study. They found that diseases like bocavirus and rhinovirus had a lot of positives in asymptomatic cases.
For some cases, it is up to the medical care provider to decide of symptom presence and a positive test is an actual infection or a mere coincidence. Even if symptoms arise from a disease, there is the chance that some other infection is there simultaneously.
Remember, these tests do not necessarily evaluate everything you should look for – even in terms of just respiratory tract infections. In cases where the symptoms seem alarming or there is the chance of something more serious, consider exploring other tests in addition to these PCR tests.
If misdiagnosed, doctors may overlook other diseases and fail to treat them, so this is an important thing to consider.
Benchmark Laboratories is here to help you learn about the services available to you. Our innovative facilities and advanced equipment have everything you need for affordable and accurate results. We aim to always bring you fast results. You can count on us to provide reliable services you can trust and depend on. Contact us today for more information about the testing options that will work with your establishment.