Two coronavirus tests were developed: One detects the various variants
Scientists in the US have announced the development of two tests with improved capabilities against the coronavirus
Scientists in the US have announced the development of two tests with improved capabilities against the coronavirus. One is a molecular PCR test that can quickly detect not only if someone has been infected with the virus but also by which variant, e.g. whether it is Omicron or Delta. The second is a blood test that can quickly detect if someone has an infection Covid-19 and at the same time to predict how seriously his immune system will react to the coronavirus, something that will determine the severity of the disease along the way.
The first test was presented in a scientific pre-publication on medRxiv by a research team led by Dr. David Aland of Rutgers University School of Medicine in New Jersey. "We have already conducted a clinical trial, which showed that the test is 100% sensitive and 100% specific in detecting variants of concern, including Delta and Omicron," he said, according to Reuters.
Most PCR tests detect the presence of the coronavirus but can not distinguish which variant it is, so a time-consuming genetic analysis must follow. The new test - which can be done by any molecular laboratory in a hospital or diagnostic center - features fluorescent molecules that glow in different colors when they come in contact with the genetic material of the virus. When the sample taken from the patient is warmed, the color disappears, but at a different temperature for each different variant of the virus. Because each variant has a unique genetic "signature", it can be quickly identified depending on the color differences at each different temperature.
The second test was presented in the scientific journal PLoS One by researchers at George Washington University, led by Professor of Medicine Timothy McCaffrey. To date, there has been no good way to predict how a patient's immune system will "respond" to the coronavirus. The response can range dramatically, from very mild symptoms to very severe ones that require ICU admission or lead to death.
The new blood test can detect certain RNA biomarkers that indicate, based on clinical experience to date, a high probability of a strong immune response and severe symptoms. According to Dr. McCaffrey, "the test helps us identify those who need more aggressive treatments." If additional studies prove that the test is really effective, researchers will apply for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).