A lab worker organizing DNA samples

Transitioning to or expanding molecular diagnostic testing, also known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), is a natural step beyond COVID testing because it uses the same type of technology. Molecular diagnostic tests can be used in all infection categories and are designed to identify a variety of pathogens such as bacterial, viral, and fungal based on the RNA and DNA strands detected.

These tests yield highly accurate results in a timely manner using only a small sample from the patient.

If you are looking to learn more about these processes in order to integrate molecular diagnostic testing into your lab/practice, we have all the answers you need:

What Is Real-Time PCR (Molecular Diagnostic) Testing?

“Short sequences called primers are used to selectively amplify a specific DNA sequence,” as explained by the National Humane Genome Research Institute. “PCR was invented in the 1980s and is now used in a variety of ways, including DNA fingerprinting, diagnosing genetic disorders, and detecting bacteria or viruses.”

The specific process of PCR testing can be described as follows:

  • A small genetic copy is obtained from the patient. This may be urine, feces, nail, a swab from a wound, or something else depending on what requires testing.
  • That sample is then copied multiple times, otherwise known as “amplifying” it.
  • Testing technology scans the genetic sample for biofluorescent signatures in real-time.
  • Once detected, these signatures are analyzed and pathogens are identified.
  • Test results come back within 24 hours.

Of late, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent need for fast and accurate testing has popularized molecular diagnostic testing. However, as mentioned earlier, these tests may be used to identify a broad range of infections, not just COVID-19.

How Does It Compare With Other Testing Methods?

“Compared to other available virus isolation methods, real-time RT–PCR is significantly faster and has a lower potential for contamination or errors, as the entire process can be carried out within a closed tube,” according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “It continues to be the most accurate method available for the detection of the COVID-19 virus.”

For example, culture testing has long stood as the traditional method for pathogen detection and identification. That being said, PCR testing has advanced such testing processes — in addition to treatment reliability — and has thus superseded culture testing as the preferred process.

In particular, in comparison to culture testing, PCR tests:

  • Can identify specific gene resistance markers
  • Cannot be impacted by antibiotic use
  • Can identify a multitude of pathogenic and viral signatures through large panels
  • Can produce results in hours versus days
  • And more

Who is NCF Diagnostics & DNA Technologies?

Located in Alachua, Florida, NCF Diagnostics & DNA Technologies has been a leading laboratory in molecular diagnostic testing since 2011. Specifically, our renowned team has developed molecular assays for more than 135 different pathogens — all of which can be resulted within 8-12 hours of receiving the sample.

This includes:

Here, we aim to be receptive to physicians’ needs. In other words, we provide services that are accurate, fast, and convenient, because we believe in providing medical leaders with the means to formulate quicker decisions.

Testing with our team leads to increased reliability, enhanced outcomes, increased patient-physician trust, and unparalleled efficiency.

Ready to learn more? Contact NCF Diagnostics & DNA Technologies today by calling (352) 375-5553 or emailing info@ncfdna.com.