Two British companies leading the race to develop coronavirus antibody tests for the UK say they have still not received orders to make them, despite the government promising that millions will be ready in a few days.
SureScreen Diagnostics, headquartered in Derby, and Bedfordshire-based Mologic Ltd say they have not been instructed to mass-start their rapid do-it-yourself tests that can diagnose patients in minutes.
The devices are still being tested in Public Health England labs, despite heads of health promising that 3.5 million of them will be on Boots shelves ‘within days’.
SureScreen said it had sent hundreds of its fingersticks to a laboratory in Oxfordshire, where they had been validated by scientists – a process she said could take weeks.
Meanwhile, Mologic, who received £ 1 million for the tests for the UK, said the antibody test was still “five to six months” away.
The test, which uses technology similar to a home pregnancy kit, started the validation process today.
The news casts doubt on whether the UK will deliver on its promise to deliver millions of home test kits within days.
The new antibody tests picked up by the government are supposed to use a lateral flow device (LFD) that draws a drop of blood with a fingerstick (like this, shown)
They work like a home pregnancy test and a color develops when the patient is positive
Prof Whitty spoke to Boris Johnson at a press conference on Downing Street this evening, warning that “the only thing worse than no test is a bad test”
Prof Whitty (left) answered questions together with Boris Johnson (center) and scientific director Patrick Vallance
WHAT IS AN ANTIBODE TEST AND HOW DIFFERENT FOR AN ANTIGEN OR SWAB TEST?
An antibody test is a test that tests whether a person’s immune system is equipped to fight a specific disease or infection.
When someone gets infected with a virus, their immune system has to figure out how to fight it and produce substances called antibodies.
These are extremely specific and can usually target only one strain of one virus. They are produced in such a way that they are able to hold onto and destroy that particular virus.
For example, if someone catches COVID-19, they will develop COVID-19 antibodies that their bodies can use to fight it.
The body then stores versions of these antibodies in the immune system so that when it comes back in contact with the same virus, it can immediately fight it and probably prevent anyone from experiencing symptoms.
To test for these antibodies, doctors or scientists can take a fluid sample from someone – usually blood – and mix it with some of the virus to see if there is a reaction between the two.
If there is a reaction, it means that someone has the antibodies and their body knows how to fight the infection – they are immune. If there is no response, it means they haven’t had it yet.
Antibody tests are different from a smear, known as a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which aims to pick up active viruses that are currently in the bloodstream.
A PCR test works by taking a sample of someone’s genetic material – their RNA – to the laboratory and working it up in a full map of their DNA at the time of the test.
This DNA can then be scanned to find evidence of the virus’s DNA, which is intertwined with the patient’s DNA if they are currently infected.
The PCR test is more reliable but takes longer, while the antibody test is faster, but rather gives an inaccurate result. It is not looking for evidence of past infection.
Antigens are parts of a virus that activate the immune system’s response to fight the infection and can appear in the blood before antibodies are made.
The main advantage of antigen testing is that it can take a few days for the immune system to develop enough antibodies to be assimilated, while antigens are detected almost immediately after infection.
Antigen tests are used to diagnose patients with the flu, as well as malaria, strep A, and HIV.
A senior health official told MPs yesterday that 3.5 million home test kits had been ordered and would be allowed to be distributed for use within a few days.
Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service of Public Health England, said the devices would be available to pick up from Boots or Amazon.
Boots then begged the British not to come to the shops pending coronavirus testing, as it has not yet received one, despite the government promising to supply the beauty salon with millions.
But Boots said that while eager to work with the government, he hadn’t heard of the plan to stock tests in his stores.
The beauty shopkeeper is now concerned that Professor Peacock’s comments will encourage the British to show up en masse to get their hands on the home screening sets.
It comes after Good Morning Britain’s doctor warned the tests can be dangerous and should not be sold to the public.
A spokesperson added, “We would like to work with the government to explore the possibilities of supporting COVID-19 testing and supporting the NHS in every possible way.
“But we don’t have any COVID-19 tests in our stores. Customers should not take a trip to a Boots store or pharmacy for this. ‘
The confusion deepened last night when English Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty went back to Professor Peacock’s claims and said the tests are still being evaluated and could take “several weeks” to roll out.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said the confusion was “a nightmare” and said the government should work on a clear message.
He told MailOnline: “Hopefully it’s a nightmare that has light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a little confusing right now.
“The only thing worse than no test is a bad test, and I think that’s absolutely correct.
“It takes a few weeks – I don’t know how long, I don’t know if it was the Chief Medical Officer or a PHE person who was correct. I hope it was PHE – then it will be ready earlier –
“I think they should work on a clear message.”
Despite repeated requests from MailOnline, the Department of Health has yet to disclose who makes the kits – which could give patients a result in 10 minutes.
At a news conference on Downing Street last night, Professor Whitty attempted to dampen expectations of an upcoming test breakthrough.
Speaking alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he warned that “the only thing worse than no test is a bad test” – erroneous results could cause British people to unwittingly spread the virus.
Professor Whitty added, “Technology is fairly close and is under evaluation this week, but it isn’t there.”
The finger prick tests will search blood samples for antibodies, substances made by the immune system to train themselves to fight an infection.
Good Morning Britain’s doctor agreed with Professor Whitty this morning, saying that the tests should be completely accurate before they are made publicly available.
Dr. Hilary Jones warned, “If we have this test, they have to be very precise and specific. It makes no sense to have unreliable tests.
“People were able to return to work without immunity and caused more harm than good.
“We shouldn’t be selling this to the public. Who checks the results and who can go back to work or not?
“I hope they don’t go on sale on Amazon and Boots. They should be used by healthcare providers first.
“It must be done officially by health care providers.”
Professor Whitty said that once the tests are accurate enough to be rolled out, the first people to be tested are primary health workers.
Good Morning Britain’s doctor agreed with Professor Whitty this morning and said the tests should be completely accurate before they are made publicly available
He said he hoped that the fingerstick tests (a Chinese one shown here) will not be available on Amazon and Boots to buy. They should be used by healthcare providers first
TEN MINUTE UK CORONAVIRUS TEST IS PERFORMED IN AFRICA
A prototype of a coronavirus test that claims to yield a result within ten minutes is being accelerated in Senegal.
Mologic was awarded £ 1 million to produce a test looking for spit antigens.
Antigens are parts of a virus that activate the immune system’s response to fight the infection and can appear in the blood before antibodies are made.
The Bedfordshire-based company says a completed test will take “ five to six months ” more after it is mass-produced.
It uses technology similar to a home pregnancy kit and starts a validation process today.
The company makes the tests in Senegal to make them cheaper.
But the test will be tested in Senegal, the UK and in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic started.
Mologic said it wanted to sell the tests “at cost” to governments around the world, so without making a profit.
While the company says tests are being rolled out worldwide, it’s mainly focused on stopping the virus from spreading in Africa in particular.
Experts fear that the continent could be devastated if a full outbreak occurs due to high levels of poverty and vulnerable health systems.
He told the No10 briefing last night: ‘What we would like to do next would certainly make less difference to the disease, but certainly for the NHS, being able to test NHS and other critical workers who are isolating themselves and are not currently being tested because we don’t test enough.
“This is a global problem, because basically every country wants this new test for a disease that was not tested anywhere three months ago, so everyone wants this and there is a global shortage and that’s a bottleneck for us.
“But the next priority is to get critical workers back to work or tell them you have this. We certainly do not want that to fight the disease, but to support the NHS. ‘
In terms of testing for people who currently have the virus, Professor Whitty defended the government’s decision to stop routine testing for people with symptoms.
“When that was no longer a sensible policy, we switched to testing people in intensive care and in hospitals and we have enough tests for that. Right now, the system is working fine for that and scaling up, ” he said.
‘That side of testing is present and works well. So when a patient reaches the hospital, we are confident in testing and scaling. ‘
He said “once we have more tests than we need for that capacity, we want to test a much larger number of people with mild symptoms.”
“Some people already have it as part of our surveillance system, but of course we would like to continue.”
He added, “Our bottleneck is largely global shortages, which we are clearly doing our best to clear because it would make it a lot better for us to test health workers and know for sure.”
Professor Whitty said there were shortages in the production of tests along many supply chains because “every country in the world wants this new thing at the same time.” He added, “It’s not that there are no tests going on, which we clearly need to scale it up.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts warn that mass controls are crucial to controlling the spread of the deadly disease.
Countries like South Korea and China have been praised for their large-scale testing regimes, which seem to help narrow things down.
However, the UK suspended efforts to test anyone with symptoms earlier this month when the response entered a ‘delay phase’.
Instead, people who thought they had the disease were urged to isolate themselves unless their condition got so severe that they needed medical attention.
Amid criticism, Johnson then stated last week that tests would expand significantly from less than 5,000 a day to 25,000.
Ministers now hope that a test will soon be ready that does not require laboratory processing and will yield results much faster.
Professor Peacock told MPs yesterday that the government had bought 3.5 million tests that will be available in the “near future.”
“Several million tests have been purchased for use. These are brand new products. We have to be clear that they work the way they would, ”she said.
“If they are tested this week and most of the tests come in, they will be distributed to the community.”
When asked if these could be days rather than weeks or months, she said “absolutely” to the Science and Technology Committee.
Professor Peacock did not explain whether the test was free on the NHS or if suspicious patients should pay.
PHE has not revealed who manufactures the tests, which detect whether someone has had the infection before and is now immune.
HOPES LOCKDOWN MAY KEEP ‘INFECTION AT MANAGABLE LEVELS’
It is hoped that once the coronavirus lock is released, the infection can be kept at a manageable level, an expert said.
Professor Neil Ferguson, who is recovering from COVID-19, told the Science and Technology Commission that the measures taken by the government could tip the outbreak of a growing epidemic into a declining epidemic.
He also explained that there was some uncertainty, but that if current measures work as expected, demand for intensive care will “peak in about two to three weeks and then decrease.”
Professor Ferguson of Imperial College London told the committee that the NHS could make current predictions if the strict measures were followed.
He said, “There will be some areas that are extremely stressed, but we are fairly confident – and that’s all we can be right now – that we will be within capacity nationally.”
Drinking from a Keep Calm and Carry On mug, he explained, “There will be some resurgence of the transfer, but the hope is that by pursuing a more targeted policy to quell those local outbreaks, we will keep contamination levels at a low level can hold in the country as a whole indefinitely.
“It remains to be seen how we achieve this and how practical it turns out to be.”
He appeared via video link, adding that it was ‘plausible’ that COVID-19 could behave like other coronaviruses and that transmission could be slightly reduced in the summer months, but perhaps not more than 10 percent to 20 percent.
Professor Ferguson said it was clear that the country could not be closed for a year, and that “the long-term stop from this is clearly the hope around a vaccine.”
“The challenge many countries in the world are facing is how we move from an initial intensive shutdown … to something that will have social implications but will restart the economy,” he said.
“That will probably depend on very large-scale testing and contact tracking.
“It has to be said that the whole world is still in its infancy to develop such strategies.”
The committee has heard that the current strategy objective is to suppress the transfer indefinitely until other countermeasures have been taken, including a vaccine.
It was also told that extensive testing was needed to help the country transition from suppression measures and incarceration into something the country can handle in the longer term.
Professor Peacock explained that a small number of tests would be tested in a lab before being distributed through Amazon and in places like Boots.
She added, “If we’re sure they work, they’ll be rolled out in the community. Testing the test is a small matter and I expect it to be ready by the end of this week.
“In the near future, people will be able to order a test that they can test themselves, or go to Boots, or somewhere else to have their finger prick test done.”
The UK’s deputy chief physician said today that antibody tests will be ‘initially’ available to primary health care personnel.
Dr Jenny Harries said on a web chat on Mumsnet – a popular forum for parents – that this was “so that we can safely manage patients and vulnerable people and keep our NHS and healthcare systems running.
“But we’ll be able to roll out to other people after that,” she added.
The new antibody tests would use a lateral flow device (LFD) that draws a drop of blood through a fingerstick and develops a color if the patient is positive.
The test looks for antibodies, the immune system’s defense mechanism, which are produced to fight the killer virus.
They work like a home pregnancy test and it only takes a few minutes to produce a result.
But the deal has raised fears that the government was rushing to buy the tests.
In the UK, routine tests are only given to people who are so sick that they have to go to the hospital or those who are already in wards – not even NHS staff are tested.
It means that the official count of just over 8,000 coronavirus patients is much lower than reality.
Those who test positive are already infected – sometimes without knowing or showing the symptoms – and are likely immune to reinfection.
But according to Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, they are only about 80 percent accurate.
And the devices are even less effective at spotting if someone is currently infected, he added.
Professor Jones told MailOnline, “She [antibody tests] are usually around 80 percent efficient and I think they are good enough to give an idea of what percentage of the population is infected, what the denominator no one really knows.
“It is important to emphasize that they should only be used as directed and that they are only a review of the infection, they cannot be used in real time.”
Professor Jones emphasized the importance of scaling up test methods that can determine whether someone is currently contagious so that patients don’t wander the streets infecting others.
“… as far as I know only hospital patients [are being tested]. Ideally, this would extend to random tests as capacity increases.
Of course, this is more important if you’re dealing with a current rather than a historical infection – you wouldn’t want to send someone home if they were actually infected.
“So I think the current tests are better stored in reference centers where there is quality assurance.
“It’s the scaling up of transit so that they could take samples from the general population.
Test by test: the types of coronavirus kits, from 10-minute finger prick results to a mask that can instantly diagnose that the government could use amid a fight about a deficiency – while PM brands check impending antibodies for a game changer
Boris Johnson announced yesterday that the coronavirus tests would ramp up to 25,000 a day after the government was criticized for potentially running tens of thousands of infected people through the streets undiagnosed.
Only 5,000 were previously cleared for COVID-19, a fraction of the number seen elsewhere.
Johnson said a new “breakthrough” coronavirus test that analyzes antibodies in the blood can detect asymptomatic patients and those who have already shed the bug.
The prime minister said this would enable people to know if they had obtained immunity and to return to work and social life as soon as possible.
Public Health England previously said that only patients who meet certain criteria can be tested for the bug and those who were screened had nasal swabs.
The prime minister admitted that the NHS continues to use nasal swabs that take up to 48 hours to be analyzed in a laboratory.
Other countries around the world, including the US, China, South Korea, Japan and Italy, have used test kits that deliver results in minutes.
And in further development, researchers at Oxford University claimed they created a new test that analyzes viral RNA to detect COVID-19 in just 30 minutes.
Here, MailOnline takes a look at the advanced testing kits currently being rolled out in other countries and at private clinics in the UK:
Name: COVID-19 IgM IgG Rapid Test
Diagnostic time: 15 minutes
The blood test is not used in the UK, despite the medical authorities in China, Italy and Japan making the diagnosis in patients.
On March 5, BioMedomics claimed that its ‘quick and easy’ test was ready and was used in South Korea, Japan, Italy, China and some Middle Eastern countries.
After the blood sample is collected, a technician injects it along with some buffer into the analyzer – which is about the size of an Apple TV or Roku remote – and wait 15 minutes.
One line means negative, two lines in a staggered configuration means that the sample contains antibodies that the body begins to produce shortly after infection.
A blood sample is collected, inserted into the reader, a buffer combined and the results come back within 15 minutes, the company claims
Two lines closer to each other means that the person is positive for the antibodies at a later stage, and three lines means that the patient is positive for both types of antibodies.
A small study found that the test delivered a correct response 80 percent of the time.
PHE confirmed that it was not using the advanced blood test because it was not accurate enough and hopes to develop one itself. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve it.
A former PHE strategist said he was “unsure” that the test could produce correct results and is therefore unlikely to be rolled out. However, the method was desirable.
Name: TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit
Diagnostic time: four hours
The DIY test detects specific DNA released by the coronavirus into the nose of infected patients.
Samples are then delivered to laboratories where they are analyzed and the results are produced within four hours.
The test was approved this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and 5 million kits will be shipped across America in the coming days.
We hope the UK will follow suit after representatives of ThermoFisher, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, entered Downing Street with a box of the tests last night.
It is clear that ministers gave a demonstration of how the test works.
FINGER STICK TEST
Name: COVID-19 Rapid Test Cassette
Manufacturers: SureScreen Diagnostics
Diagnostic time: ten minutes
The private company, based in Derby, has conducted a test that is said to be able to determine with 98 percent certainty whether a person is infected.
It involves taking a blood sample through a fingerstick and then placing it in a screening device.
SureScreen Diagnostics says a fingertip blood test is enough to determine with an accuracy of over 98 percent
The private company says the test has been validated and is already being used in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman. Currently, it takes 24 to 48 hours for official swap-based methods to return
Public Health England cautions the public against the use of such tests for fear of being unreliable as there is ‘little information on the accuracy of the tests’
Results display in a similar fashion to a home pregnancy test within minutes and may potentially prevent delays in diagnosis.
SureScreen says the test has been validated and is already being used by private buyers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Turkey, UAE, Kuwait and Oman.
It is believed that approximately 175,000 tests have been performed to date with the SureScreen kit. The company claims it received more than two million orders the following month.
Director David Campbell said, “We worked hard to create a coronavirus test (COVID19) that can be used on the patient’s side, with capillary blood, easily taken from a person’s fingertip, and diagnosed within 10 minutes can be stated.
“There is currently a major problem with the diagnosis of the disease because the standard method of screening is to send samples to the laboratory, which takes a lot of time.
“In the meantime, someone can spread the virus without knowing it, or have the problem of self-isolation.”
FACE MASK TESTS
Manufacturers: University of Leicester
Diagnostic time: 12 hours
How it works: breath test inserted in a mask
Scientists have begun a trial of the groundbreaking £ 2 gadget, which tests have already proven can detect tuberculosis, a deadly lung infection.
Wetenschappers zijn een proef begonnen met de baanbrekende £ 2-gadget (foto), waarvan tests al hebben bewezen dat ze tuberculose kunnen detecteren
De onderzoekers van de Universiteit van Leicester en de Universiteit van Pretoria hebben 3D-geprinte stroken polyvinylalcohol ontworpen die in het masker worden gestoken (foto)
De maskers, die centen zouden kunnen kosten als ze op grotere schaal worden vervaardigd, zijn uitgerust met strips die druppeltjes absorberen uit de adem van de drager, die sporen van bacteriële of virale infectie kunnen bevatten.
De strips kunnen worden getest in laboratoria met resultaten die binnen enkele uren terugkomen. Huidige tests voor coronavirus kunnen tot 48 uur duren.
Onderzoekers van de Universiteit van Leicester denken dat het minstens twee maanden zal duren voordat ze de maskers kunnen testen op echte COVID-19-patiënten.
Maar ze zijn hoopvol dat het zal werken omdat het een luchtwegaandoening is, wat betekent dat het de longen infecteert en dat het in de lucht aanwezig is, mensen ademen uit.
Na 30 minuten kunnen de strips worden getest in een laboratorium (foto)
Eerst moet het team de gadgets testen op tientallen patiënten met andere longinfecties om te bewijzen dat ze andere bugs kunnen oppikken dan tuberculose, waarvoor ze zijn ontworpen.
Patiënten met infecties zoals griep en bronchitis hebben de resultaten van hun maskertests vergeleken met die van keelzwabbers, waarvan bekend is dat ze nauwkeurig zijn.
Tests bij tuberculosepatiënten, de enige die tot nu toe zijn gedaan, tonen aan dat de maskers de dodelijke ziekte bijna 90 procent van de tijd kunnen detecteren.
Professor Mike Barer en collega’s van Leicester hopen dat ze succesvol zullen zijn omdat het coronavirus de longen op dezelfde manier infecteert als tuberculose.
Fabrikanten: Northumbria University, Newcastle
Diagnostische tijd: bijna onmiddellijk
Britse wetenschappers hebben een ademtest ontwikkeld waarmee patiënten met coronavirus snel kunnen worden geïdentificeerd.
De technologie, ontwikkeld door een team van de Northumbria University in Newcastle, is nog in ontwikkeling en moet verder worden getest.
Maar experts zijn van mening dat het de manier waarop het virus overal ter wereld wordt opgemerkt snel kan veranderen.
Britse wetenschappers hebben een ademtest ontwikkeld waarmee patiënten met coronavirus snel kunnen worden geïdentificeerd (bestand)
Dr. Sterghios Moschos zei dat de test binnen enkele minuten resultaten zou kunnen opleveren
De test van het Northumbria-team verzamelt ademmonsters die afzonderlijk kunnen worden getest op biologische informatie – ook wel biomarkers genoemd.
Deze biomarkers, waaronder DNA, RNA, eiwitten en vetmoleculen, kunnen long- en andere lichaamsdelen opsporen.
Mensen ademen simpelweg het apparaat in, vergelijkbaar met een blaasapparaat dat door de politie wordt gebruikt.
Dr. Sterghios Moschos, universitair hoofddocent aan de Northumbria University, zei: ‘Het is onze ambitie om de noodzaak van aderlating voor diagnose in de ruimste zin van het woord te verminderen.’
De test wordt momenteel getest.
PRIVATE HARLEY STREET CLINIC
Fabrikanten: Private Harley Street Clinic
Diagnostische tijd: drie dagen
Hoe het werkt: neus- en keeluitstrijkje
Prijs: £ 375
Meer dan 2.000 mensen hebben een thuistestkit van £ 375 besteld bij een Harley Street-kliniek in Londen nadat ze door de NHS waren afgewezen, volgens de Daily Telegraph.
Naast particulieren hebben zo’n 60 bedrijven, waaronder olie- en telecombedrijven, ze voor hun personeel gekocht.
Op zijn website kan het artikel eenvoudig ‘aan het winkelwagentje worden toegevoegd’, net zoals bij conventionele online producten
Dr.Mark Ali, directeur van de Private Harley Street Clinic aan de wereldberoemde medische laan van Londen, zei dat zijn praktijk een nieuwe kit aanbood voor £ 375 per stuk
De test wordt naar het huis of het gewenste adres van de cliënt gepost, waar de cliënt uitstrijkjes uit zowel de neusgaten als de keel haalt.
Het monster wordt vervolgens in de meegeleverde doos geplaatst en teruggeplaatst volgens de instructies.
Dr. Mark Ali, directeur van de Private Harley Street Clinic aan de wereldberoemde medische laan van Londen, zei dat zijn praktijk een nieuwe kit aanbood voor £ 375 per stuk.
Op zijn website kan het artikel eenvoudig ‘aan het winkelwagentje worden toegevoegd’, net zoals bij conventionele online producten.
De praktijk zegt dat de test ‘wordt uitgevoerd door een wereldwijd bekend UKAS geaccrediteerd Brits laboratorium en dat de testresultaten 100 procent nauwkeurig zijn en geen verdere tests nodig hebben om diagnoses te bevestigen’.
De website haast zich om toe te voegen dat, hoewel het het hele proces overziet, patiënten niet moeten proberen hun kits op te halen bij Harley Street.
‘Houd er rekening mee dat deze test in geen geval kan worden uitgevoerd in onze kliniek of kan worden opgehaald bij onze kliniek.’ Op de website staat.
‘Het wordt binnen 48 uur per koeriersdienst naar uw aangewezen adres gestuurd. Raadpleeg de onderstaande gegevens en bestel via de link onderaan deze pagina. ‘
Dr. Ali vertelde The Telegraph dat hij talloze verzoeken van kopers heeft ontvangen.
‘Mensen zijn ongerust. Ze willen wat duidelijkheid in hun leven krijgen ‘, vertelde hij aan The Telegraph.
‘We hebben universiteitsstudenten in Engeland die terug willen naar Nepal, maar die moeten weten of ze de ziekte hebben, zodat ze weer in hun eigen land kunnen worden gelaten.
‘We hebben een zakenman die eigenaar is van een bouwbedrijf met zestig werknemers. Hij moet de stand van zaken kennen, anders riskeert hij zijn klanten in de steek te laten. Dus iedereen in dat bedrijf wordt getest. ‘
Diagnostische tijd: tien minuten
Het Britse bedrijf Mologic werkt aan een antigeentest na ontvangst van £ 1 miljoen van de Britse regering.
Premier Boris Johnson werd eerder deze maand meegenomen op een rondleiding door het Bedford-laboratorium van Mologic
Het bedrijf hoopt dat het slechts 10 minuten duurt om een resultaat te krijgen, zoals dat van de antilichaamtest.
Antigenen zijn delen van een virus die de reactie van het immuunsysteem activeren om de infectie te bestrijden en die in het bloed kunnen verschijnen voordat antilichamen worden gemaakt.
Fabrikant: myLAB Box
Het in de VS gevestigde bedrijf myLAB Box produceert massaal een thuistest waarvoor een speekselstaafje moet worden weggestuurd naar een laboratorium om te worden geanalyseerd
Diagnostische tijd: één dag
Het in de VS gevestigde bedrijf myLAB Box maakte deze week bekend dat het de voorverkoop van zijn COVID-19 thuistest heeft geopend voor gezondheidswerkers, dokterspraktijken en apotheken.
Ze vereisen dat verdachte patiënten zelf een speekselstaafje verzamelen. Deze monsters worden naar een CDC-lab gestuurd om ‘s nachts te worden geanalyseerd.
myLAB Box zei ook dat gratis telefonische consulten beschikbaar zullen worden gesteld aan degenen die positief testen op het virus.
Het is van plan om tot 20.000 tests per dag te verwerken nadat het is goedgekeurd door de FDA. Het wordt momenteel beoordeeld.
Diagnostische tijd: 15 minuten
American startup Scanwell has produced a finger prick coronavirus test that takes just 15 minutes to complete at home.
It is posted to users via next-day delivery and is used alongside the Scanwell Health App.
American startup Scanwell has produced a finger prick coronavirus test that takes just 15 minutes to complete at home. It will work in conjunction with a health app (similar to its UTI test)
The test can be completed and uploaded through the app within 15 minutes, according to the company
The test is being fast-tracked for approval by the FDA but isn’t expected to hit the US market for another six to eight weeks.
Scanwell is best known for its smartphone-based urinary tract infection screening platform.
The Xpert Xpress test was developed by the company Cepheid which plans to have it on sale in the US by the end of March
Diagnostic time: 45 minutes
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorised the first ‘point-of-care’ coronavirus test which can be used in hospitals and emergency rooms, delivering test results in 45 minutes.
The new test was developed by the company Cepheid which plans to have it on sale in the US by the end of March.
The test will importantly deliver results onsite in 45 minutes at the hospital or emergency room where it is taken, cutting out the time-consuming step of sending the test to a lab.
A swab is inserted into a screening device, known as GeneXpert Systems, which scours for COVID-19 genes and takes less than an hour to deliver a result.
There are 5,000 of these machines located around the U.S. and 23,000 around the world.
Diagnostic time: Two-and-a-half hours
The home appliances firm has created a test provides that gives results in less than two-and-a-half hours.
The sample is taken from the nose or throat of the patient using a swab and placed inside a ‘cartridge’ and inserted into a device which scours for genes of the virus.
The home appliances firm has created a test provides that gives results in less than two-and-a-half hours. The sample is taken from the nose or throat of the patient using a swab and placed inside a ‘cartridge’ and inserted into a device which scours for genes of the virus
Vivalytic is said to be ‘easy and intuitive’ to operate, according to Bosch.
The system does not require any additionally trained personnel, so that even hospital or doctor’s practice staff without special laboratory experience can operate the machines.
Who came up with the idea? Mount Sinai Health System, New York
Diagnostic time: 1 hour 30 minutes
How it works: Detects lung damage
Doctors from The Mount Sinai Health System in New York say CT scans may be faster than nasal and throat swabs at diagnosing coronavirus patients.
The team were the first in the US to analyze lung scans of patients in China with the highly contagious disease.
They said they were able to identify specific patterns in the lungs as markers of the virus, also known as COVID-19, as it developed over the course of about two weeks>
Patients who received scans zero to two days after symptoms first appeared had little to no evidence of lung disease in their results like this 19-year-old male who had a CT scan one day after symptoms first appeared
The team said the pattern in the lung of coronavirus patients are similar to scans of patients with SARS and very different from diseases such as bacterial pneumonia (pictured)
The researchers say these quicker diagnoses could help keep patients isolated in early stages of the disease, perhaps even before symptoms appear and when it may not show up on other scans such as chest X-rays.
‘CT scans are an extremely powerful diagnostic tool, because you can seen the inner organs in a three-dimensional way,’ lead author Dr Adam Bernheim, an assistant professor of diagnostic, molecular and interventional radiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told DailyMail.com.
‘And you can see the manifestation of many diseases.’
For the study, published in the journal Radiology, the team analyzed scans of 94 patients at four medical centers in four Chinese provinces.
The patients had been admitted between January 18 and February 2, and all had either recently traveled to Wuhan – the epicenter of an outbreak – or had come into contact with an infected person.
Radiologists reviewed the scan and took notes based on when symptoms first appeared and when the CT scan was performed.
Thirty-six patients received scans zero to two days after reporting symptoms and more than half showed no evidence of lung disease.
The team says this is important because it suggests that CT scans cannot reliably detect coronavirus in its very earliest stages.
Nasal and throat swabs test can identify patients even before patients become symptomatic, although some may still have the virus if they first test negative.
Its results, however, may take days to get back from the agency’s labs.
But 33 patients who received scans three to five days after symptoms developed had patterns of ‘ground glass opacities,’ or haziness in the lungs.
‘The lung abnormalities are very round in shape and affect the perimeter of the lung,’ co-author Dr Michael Chung, an assistant professor of diagnostic, molecular and interventional radiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told DailyMail.com.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?
What is the coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus that can cause disease in animals and humans. Viruses break into the cells in their host and use them to reproduce and disrupt the normal functions of the body. Corona viruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, meaning crown, because they are encased in a pointed shell resembling a royal crown.
Wuhan’s corona virus is one that has never been seen before. It has been called SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. De naam staat voor Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.
Experts say the bug, which has killed about one in 50 patients since the December outbreak, is a “ sister ” of the SARS disease that affected China in 2002, and was therefore named.
The disease causing the virus is called COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
Dr. Helena Maier of the Pirbright Institute said, “Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide variety of different species, including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, and wildlife.
Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild cold, but two new coronaviruses have appeared since 2002 that can infect humans and lead to more serious illness (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).
“Coronaviruses have been known to occasionally jump from one species to another, and that has happened with SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known. ‘
The first cases in humans were reported publicly from the Chinese city of Wuhan, which is home to approximately 11 million people, after doctors first reported infections publicly on December 31.
On January 8, 59 suspected cases were reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests have been developed for the new virus and recorded cases have begun to rise.
The first person died that week, and on January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.
Where does the virus come from?
Scientists say the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses are generally from animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to come from civets and camels, respectively.
The first cases of COVID-19 came from people who visited or worked at a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed for research.
Although the market is officially a fish market, other dead and live animals were sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic makeup virus samples found in patients in China are 96 percent identical to a corona virus found in bats.
However, there were not many bats on the market, so scientists say it was likely that there was an animal that acted as an intermediary and contracted it from a bat before transferring it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.
Dr. Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved in the study, but said, “The discovery certainly places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.
“We still don’t know if any other species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus and possibly even market it, or which species could be the host.”
So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so concerned about it?
Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it seems to be spreading rapidly.
It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 people in an outbreak in Asia in 2003 in that it is a type of coronavirus that infects people’s lungs. Het is echter minder dodelijk dan SARS, waarbij ongeveer één op de tien mensen omkwam, vergeleken met ongeveer één op de 50 voor COVID-19.
Another cause for concern is that no one is immune to the virus because they have never encountered it before. This means it can potentially do more damage than viruses we often encounter, such as the flu or a cold.
Professor Peter Horby, a professor at Oxford University, said in a briefing in January: “New viruses can be spread through the population much faster than viruses that are constantly circulating because we have no immunity to them.
Most seasonal flu viruses have a death rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we are talking about a virus where we do not fully understand the severity spectrum, but it is possible that the mortality rate can reach up to two percent. ‘
If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
“My feeling is that it is lower,” added Dr. Horby ready. “We probably miss this iceberg of milder cases. But that is the current circumstance we are in.
“The two percent mortality rate is comparable to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, so it’s a major problem worldwide.”
How does the virus spread?
The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it can also spread before someone has symptoms.
It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, which is why close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.
Originally, people were thought to be catching a live animal market in the city of Wuhan. But soon, cases began to pop up in people who had never been there, causing doctors to realize it was spreading from person to person.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has contracted the COVID-19 virus, it may take two to 14 days or even longer for them to show symptoms, but they can still be contagious during this time.
If and when they do get sick, the typical symptoms are a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover without any problems and many will not need medical attention at all.
In a small group of patients, who appear to be predominantly elderly or those with long-term illnesses, this can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be deadly and suffocate people.
Uit cijfers blijkt dat jonge kinderen niet bijzonder ernstig door het virus lijken te zijn getroffen, wat volgens hen bijzonder is gezien hun gevoeligheid voor griep, maar het is niet duidelijk waarom.
What have genetic tests revealed about the virus?
Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of approximately 19 virus strains and released them to experts around the world.
This allows others to study them, develop tests, and possibly look into the treatment of the disease they cause.
Research has shown that the coronavirus has not changed much – change is known as mutation – much during the early stages of its spread.
However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus changed and adapted as it spread through humans.
This means that efforts to study the virus and to possibly control it can be made even more difficult because the virus can look different every time scientists analyze it.
More research may reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people and then changed and spread from them, or whether different versions of the virus come from animals that developed separately.
How dangerous is the virus?
The virus has a death rate of about two percent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish flu outbreak that killed about 50 million people in 1918.
Deskundigen zijn sinds het begin van de uitbraak in conflict geweest over de vraag of het werkelijke aantal geïnfecteerde mensen aanzienlijk hoger is dan het officiële aantal geregistreerde gevallen. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never realize they are sick unless they are tested, so only the more serious cases are discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it actually is.
However, a government survey in China found that there was no reason to believe this to be true.
Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures showed only the tip of the iceberg, and that the recording seemed accurate, Stat news gemeld.
Can the virus be cured?
The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it turns out to be difficult to contain.
Antibiotics don’t work against viruses, so there is none. Antivirals can work, but the process of understanding a virus and then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
A vaccine for the coronavirus does not yet exist and it is unlikely that a vaccine will be developed in time to assist in this outbreak for similar reasons as above.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health and Baylor University in Waco, Texas say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical technology.
Governments and health authorities are currently working to fight the virus and care for patients who are sick and prevent them from infecting other people.
People who contract the disease are quarantined in hospitals where their symptoms can be treated and they are away from the uninfected public.
And airports around the world are introducing screening measures, such as having doctors on the spot, measuring people’s temperature to check fever, and using thermal screening to identify those who may be sick (infection causes elevated temperature) .
However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so patients at an airport are unlikely to be noticed.
Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?
The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the “worldwide spread of a new disease.”
Earlier, the UN agency said that most cases outside Hubei were “overflow” from the epicenter, so the disease didn’t really spread actively around the world.