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Hospital Particular Alvor


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Hospital Particular Gambelas

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Hospital Particular da Madeira


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Madeira Medical Center


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What is the RT-PCR Test?

It is the test of choice for the diagnosis of COVID-19. This test is carried out to identify the SARS-coV-2 coronavirus in the airways.
The method used to detect the virus is PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), due to its high sensitivity and specificity in simultaneously identifying several genes of the virus.

How is the PCR Test carried out? 

These tests are carried out by healthcare professionals who, using a large cotton swab through the nose, collect a sample (exudate) from the nasopharynx.  The sample is then sent to a certified laboratory for testing.
The PCR test will confirm whether or not the person is infected, so that the appropriate follow-up treatment and necessary measures can take place so as not to infect others.

How long does it take to obtain results?

Test results collected between 8am to 4pm will be received before 8am the following day, test results collected between 5pm and 6.30pm well be received before 11.30pm the following day. 

What is the Antigen Test?

This test detects the coronavirus protein. These tests have a lower sensitivity to the virus when compared to the RT-PCR test. However, they quickly identify an infected individual if the test is performed within the first 5 days of the disease.

What are the main advantages of the Antigen Test?

The main advantage of these tests are the speed and simplicity of the process. 

Major Limitations of Antigen Tests?

Antigen tests are less sensitive when compared to the PCR tests, considered to be the “gold standard” by WHO and DGS.
These tests work best with high viral loads, if carried out within 1 to 5 days of the onset of the first symptoms.
Although false negatives are rare, they are possible in patients with low viral loads.
Therefore, the test may not detect infected patients in the asymptomatic early stages and in cases of mild infection. In both situations the patient can infect other people. Therefore, all negative test results must be reviewed by a health professional to assess the need for a second test using the PCR method.

How is the Antigen Test carried out?

The test is carried out by collecting a sample (exudate) from the nasopharyngeal. These tests are carried out quickly and visual results are obtained in a short period of time on portable equipment. 

How long does it take for results to be received?

This test does not require complex equipment and results are ready in about 20-30 minutes. Results are received by SMS, email or phone within 4hours. 

What is the difference between the RT-PCR and the Rapid Antigen Test?

The rapid antigen test has a sensitivity between 93 and 97% when compared to the molecular RT-PCR test.
If the patient is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, even if with a low viral load, with the RT-PCR test the virus is always detected.

For travel purposes, how long in advance should I do the test?  

The time lapse is variable so one should always consult airline requirements.

Where can I do the test?

In any of our units, Drive-Thru or Walk-Thru . Decide where is more convenient by consulting the map. 

Can I take the test at my home?

Yes. We can send a team to your home after a cost quotation. 

How long does it take to do the test?

Approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

A positive result of the test is obtained. What should one do?

If the test result was positive, one must remain in isolation and wait to be contacted by the Health Authorities.

A negative result of the test is obtained. What should one do?

If the test result was negative, one can carry on with normal life, while continuing to respect all the rules of the Health Authorities.

Schedule COVID-19 test