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What is real time RT–PCR?


The sample is treated with several chemical solutions that remove substances such as proteins and fats and that extract only the RNA present in the sample. This extracted RNA is a mix of the person’s own genetic material and, if present, the virus’ RNA.

The RNA is reverse transcribed to DNA using a specific enzyme. Scientists then add additional short fragments of DNA that are complementary to specific parts of the transcribed viral DNA. If the virus is present in a sample, these fragments attach themselves to target sections of the viral DNA. Some of the added genetic fragments are used for building DNA strands during amplification, while the others are used for building the DNA and adding marker labels to the strands, which are then used to detect the virus.

The mixture is then placed in an RT–PCR machine . . .