How does the COVID-19 test works?
Learn about the various tests used to detect COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause disease in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The recently discovered coronavirus causes the coronavirus disease COVID-19. The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003 are genetically related but cause very different diseases.
How does the COVID-19 test works?
Two tests are currently recommended to detect COVID-19:
Antigen test: Detects the presence of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in the body.
Antibody test: Detects signs that someone has been infected in the past by primarily looking for an immune response.
Since Chinese scientists published the full genetic code of the virus — officially known as Sars-CoV-2 in mid-January — labs anywhere in the world have been able to use antigen tests to identify its genes in patient samples. They used a method called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which has been standard in laboratories for the past 30 years.
PCR samples can come from several different parts of a patient. The easiest method is a nasal swab taken from inside the nose. The back of the throat is also an option. For hospitalized patients, a sample of the lower respiratory tract may give the best results. Antigen tests can show whether a person is currently infected with the new coronavirus, and therefore can transmit the new coronavirus to other people.
COVID-19 is the latest pandemic that has affected hundreds of thousands of lives, claimed thousands of lives, and inevitably changed the trajectory of countless lives. There are currently no effective preventive measures, and the only way to avoid getting infected is to stay at home and minimize contact with others.
The virus spreads easily from person to person, and treatment doesn't help in many cases. However, major organizations are taking all possible steps to find viable solutions to help the world return to a normal way of life. Due to the spread of the pandemic, not only serious medical problems have arisen, but also economic and social impacts. Therefore, it is imperative to fight the COVID-19 epidemic as soon as possible so that human beings can resume their lives in a physically and mentally stable environment.
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