Do you have COVID19? How can you be sure? Why is the test important? And what is the real science behind a COVID test?
In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it is important to test and isolate the disease. The country of New Zealand knows this better than most. They shut the deadly virus out of their borders through strict lockdown policies – not once but twice.
Many of the symptoms of the Sars-CoV-2 are similar to that of other diseases. So, a self-diagnosis or assessment by patients is not just careless, but also potentially dangerous. There are many aspects about COVID that are still unknown but one of the biggest red flags is that many of its carriers are asymptomatic. They could be walking around spreading the disease to several others – and not be showing a single symptom of sickness.
Two Types of Coronavirus Tests
Currently there are two major types of COVID-19 tests.
- Test that checks if you currently have COVID or qPCR tests.
- Test that checks if you have ever had COVID, or antibody tests.
In order to prevent the spread of the disease, the first one – known as a qPCR is far more prevalent. The test is being used across the U.S. and UK by several schools, offices, and government institutions as prevention measures.
How Does the qPCR Test Work?
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a relatively simple and widely used molecular biology technique to amplify and detect DNA and RNA sequences.
For standard PCR, all you need is a DNA polymerase, magnesium, nucleotides, primers, the DNA template to be amplified and a thermocycler. The PCR mechanism is as simple as its purpose:
- Double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) is heat denatured,
- Primers align to the single DNA strands and
- The primers are extended by DNA polymerase, resulting in two copies of the original DNA strand.
The we proceed to the denaturation, annealing, and elongation process over a series of temperatures and times also known as one cycle of amplification. Each of these steps of the cyclehas to be optimized for the template and primer set used. The cycle is repeated approximately 20-40 times and the amplified product can then be analyzed. PCR is widely used to amplify DNA for subsequent experimental use. PCR also has applications in genetic testing or for the detection of pathogenic DNA.
As PCR test is a highly sensitive method and only very small volumes are required for single reactions, preparation of a master mix for several reactions is recommended.
The Genesig Real-Time test is manufactured in the United Kingdom and now available in the US, as well.
The genesig Real-Time PCR Coronavirus (COVID-19) CE IVD assay is an in vitro diagnostic test based on Real-Time PCR technology, developed for specific detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA.
The probe system is based on the standard hydrolysis probe system known as TaqMan® Technology. The COVID19 specific probe is labelled with the FAM fluorophore and the internal control is labelled with the HEX fluorophore.
- The genesig Real-Time PCR Coronavirus (COVID-19) CE IVD was developed and validated to be used with the following Real-Time PCR instruments.
Applied Biosystem® 7500 Real-Time PCR System (software version 2.3)
- Roche® LightCycler 480 II (software version 1.5)
- Bio-Rad CFX Maestro (software version 1.1
Real-Time PCR technology utilizes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the amplification of specific target sequences and target specific probes for the detection of the amplified RNA. The probes are labelled with fluorescent reporter and quencher dyes.