Introduction: What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 or coronavirus disease is a respiratory illness caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). This deadly virus originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
It originated during a viral pneumonia breakout in Wuhan. It has become a global pandemic and has spread to most countries.
The key symptoms for COVID-19 infection include cough, difficulty in breathing, fever, etc. People with a weak immune system, children under 10 years of age, and senior citizens are at greater risk of COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 rapid test kits are becoming highly sought-after by all countries.
They help in instant testing of COVID-19 infection and help to take immediate action. Some salient details about COVID-19 infection and test kits are provided below:
How Does Testing Help?
There is no known treatment for COVID-19 to date. This makes testing and early identification of the infection critical.
The only way to stop the spread of this virus is to detect positive persons and put them in quarantine and treatment.
The testing infrastructure for COVID-19 is limited currently. Not all people can be tested to know their infection status.
The use of COVID-19 rapid test kits provides an effective solution for testing a larger number of people. Increasing the number of tests expands the scope of detecting positive people.
This can help in taking immediate action which can contribute significantly towards preventing the virus spread.
Current Testing Status
The testing facilities are currently limited. This implies that everyone is not being tested.
Due to limited testing facilities and kits, only those persons who exhibit persistent and severe symptoms are usually being tested for COVID-19 infection. Most countries are prioritizing their testing due to limited resources.
This leaves scope for leaving out people who may have minor symptoms and can develop the infection later. It can lead to a dangerous situation and expedite the already fast-growing infection.
As the testing infrastructure and facilities increase over time, more people can be tested.
The need of the hour is to develop more COVID-19 rapid testing kits.
These kits can help to test a greater number of people and help in early identification of the infection.
It can help to take timely corrective action which is critical in checking the spread of this dangerous virus. There are reliable COVID-19 rapid test kit manufacturers like ZABOBIO, who manufacture high-quality and reliable kits.
These kits can be lifesavers not only for the infected people but for others who are not infected as it keeps them safe. It can also help healthcare workers remain safe.
Principle of COVID-19 Tests
The test consists of two components- an IgM component and an IgG component. IgM is the largest antibody in the human body.
In addition to this, it is also the first antibody that appears in response to antigen exposure.
An antigen is any toxin or foreign body that is alien to your body. Once the IgM appears, it triggers an immune response in your body. IgM can be considered as the first line of defense of the human body to a viral infection.
The specimen in the form of whole blood, serum, or plasma can be used for COVID-19 testing.
When the specimen is put in the testing well, it reacts with antigen-coated particles. The mixture reacts with the anti-human IgM and IgG which is pre-coated in the test region.
If IgM bodies are detected in the test, it indicates recent exposure to COVID-19 and a nascent stage of infection. Detection of IgG bodies in the test denotes an advanced stage of COVID-19 infection.
Once it is established that a tested person is positive for COVID-19, it is imperative to take immediate action. They should be put in quarantine and treatment without any delay.
Salient Features of the COVID-19 Test Kit
One of the key features of the COVID-19 rapid test kit is that it gives instant results. You can get the test results within 10 minutes.
This helps to take immediate corrective action. Timely action is important in controlling the spread of the virus. The testing method is also more accurate and reliable.
There is also no need for any analyzer to get the results. The test results are visible in the form of the quality control line and test line. The results can be easily read and provide conclusive evidence.
The rapid testing kit allows the healthcare workers to take whole blood as a testing specimen.
This is significant as they can take blood from the person being tested without the test subject needing to remove their mask. This greatly reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection for healthcare workers.
It is also significant as it helps to break the potential transmission chain at the time of testing itself. Healthcare workers can have peace of mind while they continue to test a large number of people.
The cost of COVID-19 testing is also a barrier in using it for mass testing. The use of these new rapid testing kits greatly reduces the testing cost. They are cost-effective testing means and make the process affordable for all.
How to Interpret the Test Results
Once the test specimen is put in the testing well, the results are visible in 10 minutes.
The results can be read by observing the quality control line (C) and the test line (T). If the test result only shows the quality control line, then it denotes a COVID-19 positive result.
This means that the person is infected with COVID-19 and should be immediately placed in quarantine and provided with relevant treatment.
If only the quality control line appears and there is no test line, then it indicates a negative test result. In some cases, the quality control line may not appear.
All such tests are invalid, and the test should be performed again for getting a reliable result.
The timing of reading the test results is important. If the reaction time is more than 15 minutes, then test results would be affected and they will not be reliable.
The reaction time is calculated from the moment the test specimen is put in the testing well provided in the test kit. Thus, it is mandatory to read the test results within 10 minutes of adding the specimen to the test kit.
Diagnosis Based on the Test Results
The diagnosis of COVID-19 depends on two important factors. The first is the detection of the coronavirus and the second is assessing the body’s immune system and response to it. The effectiveness of the detection method depends on the stage of COVID-19 infection in a patient’s body.
The testing kits complement nucleic acid methods like PT-PCR. This is helpful in the early and speedy diagnosis of the infection. It also helps in checking the spread of the virus which is critical in controlling and dealing with it.
The COVID-19 infections mainly attack the lungs. This means that care should be taken while taking the testing specimen.
Specimens taken from the upper respiratory tract may not be suitable as they can provide false-negative test results. The timing of testing is also critical to get accurate and reliable results.
The antibodies to the COVID-19 infection become detectable in 3-5 days after the symptoms become visible.
Hence, it is important to use the COVID-19 rapid testing kit only after the symptoms surface and remain persistent for at least 3 days.