There are a total of 492,250 cases reported on 26 March 2020, and the death toll crosses over 22,180. Yes, these are the number of people that are infected with pandemic disease- CORONAVIRUS.
In the US itself, there are around 68,905 cases and numbers are increasing rapidly every day. Not only in the United States, but the whole world is suffering from this eerie disease. The source of this outbreak virus is still unknown, but in December 2019, China informed the WHO (World Health Organization) about the pneumonia-like condition in Wuhan City in Hubei province.
Since then, this virus spreads widely among all the countries through travelers, and in the January month, WHO also declares it as a Pandemic. With the increasing numbers of infected people, this is becoming a global issue for all of us. Many countries, including India, China, France, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, and the UK, have already implemented the world’s most massive and most restrictive mass quarantines. This is the only way till now to stop the spreading of the virus!!
We don’t have a centralized data registry tracking this the way we should,” says Prof Howard Forman, a public health expert at Yale University. “We should learn from this experience – having a centralized registry to keep track, with information flowing from labs to state and then federal governments is critical.”
Common Symptoms of Coronavirus
If you traveled recently to any other country or come under the contact of an infected person, there are high chances that you may also be a coronavirus positive. Below are the specific symptoms of COVID 19 infections:
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
If you feel the above symptoms and have a doubt whether you are coronavirus positive or not, it is always better to inform the public health official and get the proper treatment. Now you’re thinking what is the whole procedure of COVID 19 testing? How do they determine whether a person is coronavirus positive or not?
All your questions are answered in this blog, below are some ways by which doctors identify an infected person.
As you know, coronavirus is a respiratory disease that majorly affects the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The virus comes through the nasal pathways and severely infects these areas of the body, and due to this, a person feels symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, etc.
There are specific labs that conduct these tests, so if you’re a suspect of coronavirus, you may be directed to one of these labs for further diagnosis.
There are many ways to collect the samples:
- Blood test – In this test, a blood sample is taken from a vein in the arm.
- Nasal aspirate – In this case, a sample is taken with suction from your nose after injecting saltwater or saline solution.
- Swab Test – A special swab is used to take a sample from your nose or throat.
- Sputum Test – It is a mucus test in which you’re required to cough up the sputum in a special swab or cup. Sputum is a thick mucus that gets accumulated in the lungs and usually comes out with a cough.
- Tracheal aspirate – In this test, a sample is taken from your lungs by a thin tube with a torch, known as a bronchoscope.
After being sampled by doctors, they are sent to specialized laboratories for further testing. As the virus is highly transmissible, hence only labs that are equipped with proper equipment are allowed to test it. Every country has a few numbers of these kinds of labs in which this facility is available.
These samples are studied through 2 ways: First, through a broader test that looks for any type of coronavirus that also includes common cold & pneumonia. The other one is through gene sequencing, which finds the presence of SARS-CoV-2 explicitly. This test is also referred to as the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.
PCR testing is done in five stages to get the final result on whether a person is positive or not:
Stage 1: After the sample was taken, they are kept in “virus transport medium” to protect the RNA (which is very delicate).
Stage 2: After the arrival of the sample in the laboratory, the swab is mixed with a liquid. After that, the liquid is gone through the centrifugation process. (It is a process by which liquid is separated from the viral matter). After that, only a “pellet” of the viral cells remains as the fluid already gets flung out.
Stage 3: After the stage 2 process, the remains are now processed to separate the RNA matter. But the problem in this stage is that a tiny quantity is not adequate for the accurate testing process.
Stage 4: To solve this thing, the RNA is now converted into a two-stranded DNA using an enzyme. To be detected by the PCR test, the regions of DNA or the cDNA (a copy) need to be copied repeatedly, which is known as Amplification.
Stage 5: This is the final stage of coronavirus testing. In this stage, the Primers are used to bind to SARS-CoV-2’s viral genome. Primers are the small pieces of DNA, designed only to link to specific DNA sequences.
Lastly, the primers and the probe with a fluorescent dye are put into a small reaction tube. After this, the tube is placed in the PCR machine for the “binding” process.” The whole process completes in 40 cycles, and the time duration is about 8 hours.
Confirming The Result
Results are not declared in one day, usually, it takes two more days to declare the result. Because it takes time to transport the samples to labs. Not only this but also the process is repeated twice before confirming whether a person is coronavirus positive or not.
Lately, there have been many kits developed to test this at home, and many private labs are also conducting these tests. Last week the United States declared the first rapid coronavirus diagnostic test, which will only take only 45 minutes to tell you the result.
Alex Azar (U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services) said on Saturday, “With new tools like point-of-care diagnostics, we are moving into a new phase of testing, where tests will be much more easily accessible to Americans who need them.”
Recently, WHO also announced the 20 corona vaccines and three countries- the US, China, and Europe, are registered themselves for the first human trial.
But still, with the diagnosis of kits and vaccines, till now, this virus has no cure or medicine. So, until then, it is better to live in self- isolation because the virus spreads rapidly. Avoid going outside & any kind of interaction with the people, drink a lot of fluids and take rest. Also, wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based sanitizer and cover your mouth while sneezing and coughing.
For more updates on COVID-19, and if you want to know about any other health-related information, visit Healthclubfinder.