COVID 19 Testing:

Virus Test by RT-PCR

Significance of the Test:

 

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, previously called 2019-nCoV) belongs to the family of coronaviruses and, like SARS-CoV, is classified in the genus Betacoronavirus [1]. The new coronavirus originated in China in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province. It caused an infection wave, which has spread rapidly within the country and worldwide [2, 3]. Just a few days after the first report about patients with pneumonia of unclear origin, the causative pathogen was identified as SARS-CoV-2 [2-4].

SARS-CoV-2 is predominantly transmitted by droplet infection via coughing or sneezing and through close contact with infected patients [2, 3, 5].

 

The incubation time of SARS-CoV is three to seven, maximally 14 days [2]. The symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection are fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and fatigue [2, 3, 5]. In most patients the infection manifests with symptoms of a mild febrile illness with irregular lung infiltrates. Some patients, especially elderly or chronically ill patients, develop severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The disease is fatal in around 3% of cases [2, 3, 5]. In February 2020, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 was named COVID-19 by the WHO.

 

COVID-19 RT-PCR test is a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

References:

 

  1. Gorbalenya AE, Baker SC, Baric RS, de Groot RJ, Drosten C, Gulyaeva AA, et al. Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus: The species and its viruses – a statement of the Coronavirus Study Group. bioRxiv preprint. doi: 10.1101/2020.02.07.937862

  2. Wang G, Jin X. The progress of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) event in China. J MedVirol. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25705

  3. Gralinski LE, Menachery VD. Return of the Coronavirus: 2019-nCoV. Viruses 2020, 12(2), 135

  4. Corman VM, Landt O, Kaiser M, Molenkamp R, Meijer A, Chu DKW, et al. Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR. Euro Surveill. 2020; 25(3): pii=2000045

  5. Xiao SY, Wu Y, Liu H. Evolving status of the 2019 novel coronavirus Infection: proposal of conventional serologic assays for disease diagnosis and infection monitoring. J Med Virol. 2020; 1-4

Comments for the Report:

 

A Detected result indicates that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA is present and suggests the diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Test result should always be considered in the context of patient’s clinical history, physical examination, and epidemiologic exposures when making the final diagnosis.

A Not Detected result indicates that SARS-CoV-2 is not present in the patient’s specimen. However, this result may be influenced by the stage of the infection and the quality of the specimen collected for testing.  Additional follow up testing may be appropriate. Test result should always be considered in the context of patient’s clinical history, physical examination, and epidemiologic exposures when making the final diagnosis.

An Indeterminate result suggests that the patient may be infected with a variant SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related coronavirus. Additional testing with an alternative molecular or serologic method is recommended on a newly collected specimen.  Test result should always be considered in the context of patient’s clinical history, physical examination, and epidemiologic exposures when making the final diagnosis.

Reference:

 

Corman VM et al. Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR. Euro Surveill 2020; 25(3): 2000045.


Xiao SY et al. Evolving status of the 2019 novel coronavirus infection: Proposal of conventional serologic assays for disease diagnosis and infection monitoring. Journal of Medical Virology 2020; 92(5): 464-7.

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