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Covid19 Featured Science

New corona-virus test: faster, cheaper and easier

As the world continues its ongoing battle with the deadly pandemic, scientists are working harder than ever to put an end to the problem. Thus, one of the most important ways to solve a problem is to identify it. From the start of the coronavirus spread, the testing process has been somehow difficult. The tests were rather slow and expensive for the local population. Hence, even though many hope that a vaccine is on its way, scientists are still working on developing a better COVID-19 test.

New improved tests

The normal coronavirus test takes about four days to determine the results. Even worse, 10 percent of individuals don’t end receiving their lab results for 10 days or more. Thus, the slow process stands in the way of preventing further spread of the virus. In a way, these days make a huge difference. A difference between life and death for some people.

“If you have a 14-day lag to knowing if someone is sick and contagious, then they’ll interact with many, many more people in that period than if you have a one-day or a six-hour or one-hour turnaround,” says Omar Abudayyeh, a bioengineer at MIT.

Abudayyeh is one of many researchers focusing its efforts on developing new and speedier types of diagnostic tests. An all-in-one machine will be tasked with such tests. Thus, turning the process easier and more portable while facilitating the set up in schools, nursing homes, and offices.

on August 26, the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the Abbott Laboratories COVID-19 test. This test works like a pregnancy test. Therefore, the test process will only use a test card with the size of a credit card, a few drops of a reaction solution, and a sample from a nasal swab. After 15 approximately 15 minutes, in case of infection, two lines will appear on the card. However, if the subject wasn’t infected, only one line will appear on the card.

Accuracy

For now, PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, still holds the golden record of the most accurate COVID-19 test. Sure, They might miss some people very early in the infection or due to lab errors, however, until now scientists consider such tests to be the most accurate form of testing.

Since the PCR detects even tiny quantities of the virus’s genetic material, it is an efficient way to determine the virus’s spread. On the other hand, the PCR is rather slow. The long duration poses a setback in the battle against the ongoing pandemic.

On the other hand, the lack of data and long-range participants initiate the question on the accuracy of other methods. The testing system is complex and is reliant on many different factors. multiple supply chains and the workforce are other features that can affect the test results.

Pros of the new tests

However, many researchers believe in the advantages of faster and easier COVID-19 tests. The Health Secretary of the USA, Matt Hancock, reported that these latest innovations are a “big step forward”. He also stated that the government was on target to reach 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

Moreover, He expressed his optimism since the new technologies could be used in vulnerable settings like schools. They can use the new tests also across the community where “we want to test people who don’t have symptoms so we can find out where the virus is”.

Furthermore, Mr. Hancock stated, “The fact these tests can detect flu, as well as Covid-19, will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others.”

Technology is playing a huge role in the battle against the coronavirus. Thus, detecting all carriers of the virus will present an efficient method in this pandemic.

References:

Information for Laboratories about Coronavirus (COVID-19). (2020, February 11). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/testing.htmlK. (2020, August 31). New coronavirus tests promise to be faster, cheaper, and easier. Science News. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid19-rapid-tests-rna-virusLowe, D. (2020, August 27). Thoughts On a New Coronavirus Test (And on Testing). In the Pipeline. https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/08/27/thoughts-on-a-new-coronavirus-test-and-on-testingNew COVID and flu tests give results in 90 minutes. (2020, August 3). BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53632043