Covid-19 Testing Machine

Everyday millions of people are getting affected by Covid-19. If people find out that infected people are close to them, they will get tested whether they are infected or not. However, you may have experienced having a hard time getting a test yourself at a medical center since there are hundreds waiting for their chance. Though you finally succeed to get tested, it takes a day for you to get the results. In order to find out quickly those who are infected, a more simplified method should be developed.

There are two main ways of testing for Covid-19. The first is a very sensitive test that looks for the RNA of the virus using a technique called RT-PCR. This can detect as little as one virus particle in swabs taken from inside the mouth or nose. The second type measures antibody responses to viruses in blood serum. There are many virus components that our bodies make and many different antibodies to fight against them. Some antibodies are very useful and kill the virus, and some are not. Since RT-PCR is the fastest, most countries rely on it. However, once you have recovered, the virus tests can no longer tell whether you are infected or not. Now, antibody methods are getting developed and soon will replace RT-PCR.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. Antibody measurements take time to purify, and then the viral component must be produced and purified. You will need a carefully collected set of patient samples to determine if these tests are useful. Antibody tests should be tested with a variety of samples to understand not only their accuracy, but also how long they have been positive after infection and how long the patient will remain positive after recovery.

RT-PCR detection can be assessed by taking a known amount of virus and checking the results. The virus had grown in the lab weeks after the first patient in the UK was identified, so they had an accurate RT-PCR test for a while. However, it is relatively slow and expensive due to the labor requirements of a heavy centralized laboratory capable of running a large number of RT-PCRs.

Nowadays, scientists and mechanists are doing their best to develop a testing machine so that it could help people test easily and anywhere. A home testing kit is an example that could be a magnificent invention during this Covid-19 period.

By: Hyunsu Park