- Tram Ho
The new strain of corona virus in Wuhan is officially called 2019-nCoV, and it’s not easy to diagnose. The virus is thought to have spread from a seafood market and is related to some common cold viruses, as well as both the SARS and MERS viruses.
At airports and gateways across the globe, countries are sending health workers equipped with thermometers to screen for people with fever, a symptom of the virus being able to appear.
You have a fever or cough: There is currently only one type of test that can help determine if it is corona virus
” The early symptoms of this disease include fever, cough and shortness of breath, ” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for Immunology and Respiratory Disease at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for know.
But aside from laboratory tests, there’s no way to know for sure if a person is infected with the new corona virus. You cannot distinguish it from a common viral illness like the flu, based on clinical signs.
The only way to identify 2019-nCoV is by looking at its genome sequence
Christian Drosten, an emerging infectious disease researcher at the German Infectious Disease Research Center, has developed one of the first test procedures for the new 2019-nCoV strain at his laboratory.
He shared that performing a screening test for new viruses like corona can be done fairly easily, as long as you know the specific sequence of the viral genome.
” We predict this is a strain that is related to SARS, and we have been studying SARS-related viruses, mainly from bats for a long time ,” Drosten said.
When the disease in China just broke out, the first news flew to his lab. Drosten’s team immediately created several test versions for the corona virus strain, hoping that one of them would match the new strain of the virus causing pneumonia-like symptoms.
” When there was the first virus genome release from China ” – around mid-January – ” we immediately compared our potential tests with this sequence, and we found that most as all our tests are true , “he said.
Now Drosten’s tests are used (in addition to other similar tests) to determine if a person is infected with a new corona virus. It’s like a word game, but it is done on a viral genome.
The scientists used a patient’s sample of saliva and sputum to study the virus
To verify whether a person with fever, cough, and dyspnea is truly infected with the new corona virus, scientists must first collect their sample, using a throat swab. Simply put, it is the collection of saliva, sputum, and mucus from the patient’s nose and mouth.
The specimens are then transported (usually wrapped in ice packs) to a laboratory for testing.
In the US, tests are only performed at CDC facilities in Atlanta, the type of test is “reverse polymerase chain copy ” or RT-PCR. In particular, the viral RNA will be converted into DNA and amplified genetic sequences to help scientists easily look at them to compare with the standard gene sequences of viruses announced by China.
In China, like in the US, initial virus samples were sent to a Beijing laboratory for testing only. But with the outbreak of the disease spreading from Wuhan City, the test is currently being performed at the facility in Hubei Province, Reuters reported on Monday.
It takes 1-2 days for results to be returned to the hospital where the patient is being quarantined.
Although the test protocols and the machines used are essentially the same all over the world, Drosten says that not all tests are conducted in the same way and that diversity is an advantage.
An RT PCR machine.
” The target areas on the new corona virus genome are different, ” he explained. “We really want a variety of test protocols. If we doubt our test or if something is not right for the test goals, virus mutation or something happens. “We can still switch to the testing methods that other labs are using. All information is public and the transition is very easy.”
Drosten also said that false positives cannot occur with this data sharing. It is impossible for a patient to not be infected with the virus to test positive.
“We have confirmed the specificity of the new virus,” he said.
In China, where there have been nearly 10,000 new cases of coronavirus, genetic testing is becoming overcrowded. People say their chances of getting tested are now equal to winning the lottery.
If you have not been to China and have not had close contact with an infected person who has returned from China in the past 2 weeks, your chances of becoming infected are very low.
To date, very few virus samples tested in the US have shown positive results for the new corona virus.
CDC reported that 68 samples from suspected Americans turned out to be negative. Only six cases in the US were confirmed: one in Washington, another in Arizona, two from California and a couple in their 60s from Illinois.
The husband in Illinois is the first confirmed human-to-human transmission of the corona virus in the United States. Authorities say he got the virus from his wife, who recently traveled in China.
” It is important to note that this spread occurred between two people with a close relationship for a long time ,” Messonnier told reporters on Thursday.
If you or someone you know has been traveling in China in the past two weeks, be alert for signs of fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Drosten said he doesn’t think there is any faster and more accurate test for confirming new corona virus infections, other than genetic tests in the lab.
” What we need is the power to eliminate, right? So we need a really sensitive test , “ he said.
Refer to Businessinsider
Source : Genk