Coronavirus Testing Developments

As Coronavirus continues to spread, and mutate, so testing methods have developed to better detect Covid-19.

Testing for the virus has always been integral to diagnosing it, understanding its spread, and taking preventive measures to protect populations.

The more rapid and reliable the test, the quicker there can be a diagnosis. The Viasure® Real Time SARS-Cov-2 PCR detection kit is one such efficient testing system.

Here, we look at the timeline of Coronavirus with particular relation to the UK, and the different testing methods currently in use.

The Coronavirus Timeline up to Lockdown

The timeline of coronavirus stretches back to the end of 2019, but the UK recorded its first positive tests in February 2020.

In December 2019, Chinese epidemiologists from the Chinese Centre of Disease Control and Prevention confirm that they have identified the first cluster of patients displaying symptoms of a type of pneumonia of unknown cause.

By the end of the month, authorities state they are now treating many cases of this same infection.

In January, the Chinese accept the help of a World Health Organisation (WHO) team for their own researchers, and the same month there is the first reported death from the virus.

On 20 January, according to WHO, there are the first reported cases outside mainline China, in Japan, South Korea and Thailand. The first confirmed case of the virus in the US is in Washington State, on 21 January.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Public Health England raises the risk level for coronavirus from very low to low.

The UK’s first two cases test positive for the virus on 29 January.

Forward one month, and the disease now officially has the name Covid-19, which refers to the year of its emergence.

Italy sees a major surge in cases, and places around 50,000 people in lockdown. The country emerges as the second focal point of the disease, after China.

By early March, UK cases surge, and by the middle of the month the death toll rises to 54, with over 1,500 confirmed cases. But real figures may be closer to 10,000.

On 23 March, Boris Johnson announces a national lockdown in the UK. There are concerns that the current infection rate could end up overwhelming the NHS. By this time, worldwide Covid-19 cases stand at around 270,000, with 11,000 deaths.

First Lockdown and Beyond

During the first lockdown period, the UK’s testing capacity increases, first being rolled out to frontline NHS staff.

By April, worldwide Covid19 cases pass one million. Boris Johnson contracts the virus, and is later admitted to intensive care.

By July, there are small outbreaks of Covid-19 still in the UK, but lockdown has had some success in supressing the spread of the virus. It is announced that pubs, restaurants and hotels will reopen on 4 July.

Other parts of the world re-open, but also impose local lockdowns in some areas. On 9 July, worldwide infections pass 12 million.

There is a major breakthrough in the search for a vaccine, during July, from the University of Oxford.

On 30 July, there are local lockdown restrictions in place in northern England.

In August, there is the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, but also further extensions of local lockdowns later in the month.

Infections are on the increase again, and there is the introduction of a tiered system in October, bringing in a range of restrictions for different areas.

By the end of October, there is the announcement of a new national lockdown lasting for a month.

When it lifts, on 2 December, its replacement is a new, tougher tier system.

On 20 December, the Government tightens up its rules for Christmas, introducing a new, more restrictive tier four for London and the South East. The virus has mutated, and may now be 70% more infectious.

Different Types of Coronavirus Tests

Before the development of a successful vaccine, the one key scientific tool for combatting the spread of coronavirus has been testing.

In fact, this is a series of tools, as there are different types of Covid-19 tests.

Globally, the two dominant types are

• Polymerise chain reaction (PCR) tests, and
• Antibody or serologic testing.

Testing has played a key part in suppressing the virus in some countries, such as South Korea, and it continues to be crucial in detecting and monitoring the spread of the virus.

And, of course, it’s vital in helping isolate those who are infected to slow or stop the spread.

Antibody tests tell you if someone has been infected previously and carries antibodies. PCR tests, on the other hand, tell you if the virus is actively present, and therefore that the person is currently infected.

A Rapid Coronavirus Testing Tool

Real time detection is critical in PCR testing. It makes all the difference how swiftly you identify and then isolate and treat an infected person, slowing the potential for further infection of other people.

The Viasure® Real Time SARS-Cov-2 PCR detection kit is a simple, one-step testing process.

Pro Lab Diagnostics are the exclusive UK distributors of this test.

We’re happy to demonstrate the Viasure® Real Time kits to you and to make sure your staff have all the information they need to run these tests.

For more information, please contact us, and we will be back in touch as soon as possible.

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