COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic
As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to sweep the globe, thousands of new cases continue to be reported each day. On June 12, 2020, cdc.gov reported 21,744 New Cases have been reported out of a total of 2,016,027 resulting in 113,914 total deaths (947 New).
As these numbers seem to change every day, many speculate as to whether there are multiple waves of the virus. Others wonder if the virus simply hasn’t peaked yet.
Despite the speculation, clinical trials have gone underway in order to ascertain whether there is in fact an effective treatment against COVID-19. In a fast-spreading pandemic, it’s almost impossible to acquire exact data due to the rate in which the virus moves.
However, as a society, we are learning each day ways to help protect ourselves and prevent the virus from reaching our homes and loved ones.
As the world death toll has reached an estimated 428,927 people (as of June 13, 2020, 13:27 GMT – worldmeters.info) many medical institutions are being tasked with detecting and identifying patients who exhibit symptoms. In order to meet the public’s health needs, COVID-19 testing sites have opened, allowing access to all members of the community.
How does one determine whether they in fact need to be tested for COVID-19? The CDC states that ‘not all’ individuals are required to undergo a test for coronavirus. This is mainly because those with mild symptoms are able to recover on their own.
Moreover, a vaccine for the disease is not currently available although clinical trials are currently being conducted. The CDC provides detailed information on how to determine priority for testing HERE –https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html
Understanding the Different Coronavirus Tests
For those who are considering receiving COVID-19 testing, or receiving a coronavirus antibody test, what options are available and how does one decide? Firstly, it’s important to understand the types of testing available for COVID-19. There are two types of tests that are designed specifically for COVID-19. The first is a COVID-19 Viral Test, the second is a COVID-19 Antibody Test.
COVID-19 Viral Tests
The COVID-19 Viral Test utilizes swabs to collect specimens obtained from inside the nose. The specimen collected will determine if the patient is currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, (the virus that causes COVID-19). This kind of test is important for those who need to determine if they are actively infected with the virus.
Those who are employed by a healthcare institution would undoubtedly benefit from this test. They would now be informed and be able to take the necessary steps to prevent further spread and seek medical attention in order to prepare for worsening symptoms.
As with either the possibility of being infected or coming into contact with those who may have been infected, preventative measures in order to stop the spread and protect others from infection are still highly recommended. For those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and wish to test themselves at home, there are few options – however according to the CDC:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two viral tests that let you collect either a nasal swabexternal or a saliva sampleexternal at home. However, you will still need to send your sample to a clinical laboratory for analysis.
COVID-19 Antibody Test
For those who are not exhibiting any symptoms, an Antibody Diagnostic Test would be able to determine if the patient has any of the antibodies from the initial coronavirus infection.
Negative Test Results: If someone received a negative result from this Antibody Test, it is possible that they have never had the virus. It is also possible that the virus may still be active and antibodies have not developed in response to the infection yet. A current infection is still possible from a negative test result.
Positive Test Results: Positive test results indicate either antibodies have developed from the virus that causes COVID-19 or possibly another coronavirus of the same family, depending on the specifications listed by the manufacture of the test. Test results can be sent to a lab for further analysis.
Can I Purchase a Coronavirus Antibody Test?
Because of the growing effects of this widespread pandemic and the fact that there is a declared public health emergency in effect, the FDA has approved for emergency authorized use these Antibody Test. The FDA makes a statement on the use of these tests on their FDA Fact Sheet stating:
The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs), an authorization available to certain products in a declared public health emergency, for some antibody tests based on the data submitted to the Agency after determining that the applicable statutory criteria had been met.
This test is an easy to use kit that detects anti–SARS–CoV–2 IgM and anti-SARS-CoV–2 IgG in human whole blood, serum, or plasma. This will help in the diagnosis of primary and second SARS–COV–2 infections. This device is for Emergency Use Authorization Only.
These tests are only available for certain approved individuals within the healthcare community.
For Emergency Use Authorization Only
What does this mean? This means that Healthcare Institutions, Clinics, Labs, and other Medical Establishments can now purchase COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test for professional/emergency use.
Because these types of tests are for Emergency Use Authorization only, this means that they are not meant to be sold to the general public for At-Home use. See the FDA Fact Sheet for (There are Viral Test that can be purchased for home use by the general public – specimen will need to be sent to a lab to verify results)
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