How are rapid tests to diagnose the Corona virus? | Science and Technology Latest discoveries and studies from DW Arabia DW


Against the emerging coronavirus, there are no drugs or vaccine yet. Until a vaccine is developed and verified in all test periods of the side effects, licensed by the medical authorities and then produced in large quantities and distributed globally, it will take 18 to 24 months, until people are able to receive the vaccine. Therefore, reliable tests in the coming months are at least a reasonable measure to reduce the frequency of the virus. With rapid tests, it is possible to detect injured patients who can be placed in quarantine – in a medical institution or isolated at home.

But medical institutions and laboratories even in developed countries when it comes to a severe wave of infection quickly collide with the limited capacity. Therefore, rapid tests must be limited to doubtful cases, and a general test is not feasible and useless.

Who is taking the test?

Residence in a risky area is not sufficient at current discretion to warrant a test. It cannot be said that every person who suffers from a cold or a cough is infected with the Coronavirus.

But whoever has symptoms of pneumonia due to germs and reveals apparent symptoms such as coughing, fever or difficulty breathing and has had contact with an infected person or that he has resided in a particular danger area represents a justified case of suspicion.

South Korea has set up stations in Corona to test cities

South Korea has set up stations in Corona to test cities

It remains to be determined by the doctor that it is necessary to have a test for the Corona virus or not. Randomly, patients with a common cold are examined, according to the Robert Koch Institute, to see whether they are infected with the Coronavirus. The costs (200 euros) are borne by health insurance companies in Germany, but only when patients are classified by the doctor as a questionable condition.

How is the test done?

The test is most often done by taking samples (swabs) from the patient’s throat or from his nose. The Robert Koch Institute recommends, when the suspected case, samples not only from the upper respiratory tract, but also from deep respiratory passages such as bronchial or lung secretions.

What do you get with the samples?

Samples are subject to coronavirus testing in laboratories. This type of test lasts five hours and is a traditional method in the laboratory. It is also used to check for genetic diseases or paternity control. This method reveals the amount of germs in the body.

How are the concerned persons informed?

The real test lasts five hours in addition to the transfer period to the laboratory. The results are usually ready after a day or two, and the doctor then informs the patients. In the event that there is a positive result of the examination, it is next to the patient to inform the relevant Ministry of Health immediately and then the quarantine comes with the necessary isolation and protection measures. In cases of easy illness, patients can undergo isolation inside the home as long as they do not expose others to infection.

Are the tests clear?

Tests or a negative test do not completely deny the presence of a possible infection with the Coronavirus, because if samples are taken or improperly transferred, they may mistakenly result in a negative result. Therefore, infected patients are repeatedly tested.

Even a negative test does not completely deny the presence of a coronavirus infection

Even a negative test does not completely deny the presence of a coronavirus infection

Are there easy and fast test possibilities?

As we have described, the diagnosis requires special equipment in the laboratory and qualified technicians who are not available in many parts of the world. Even in developed China, absorptive capacity due to the number of casualties was rapidly depleted. Even in Europe and the United States of America, there are difficulties in providing test components or medical equipment.

At the latest, since the eruptions of the Ebola and Zika crises, researchers plan to develop portable diagnostic devices to test people in out-of-order clinics or in remote areas. Research conducted worldwide has revealed promising results for quick, easy tests such as a blood sugar test.

Alexander Freund / MA

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