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03-27-2020 06:27 AM
So, I wanted to ask those here that are way smarter than me if they had a theory as to why our testing here in the U.S. isn't too great.
I just read an article re Australia and how by next week they will have at least 500K "15 minute" test kits! I thought that was amazing. It requires 2 droplets of blood to work. How they actually process it and all that I don't know, but I thought that sounded like a fast turn-around!
It just made me think why here in the U.S aren't we doing something like this? Or maybe we are, but I couldn't find anything regarding it other than in the article I read it said the company "MD Solutions" (who is supplying the kits) was involved with a U.S. company called Biotech if I remember correctly, but didn't say anything else.
Now that we lead the world in infections, and you hear all the experts saying you have to test, test, test to really make a difference in combating the virus...I wonder why this isn't like a top priority.
And maybe it is, maybe I'm missing something. That is why I wanted to ask those here that I know are very involved in this and who know the facts. Thank you very much.
03-27-2020 07:08 AM
I might be all wrong but from what I’ve previously read I was thinking the two drops of blood 15 minute test was to test for antibodies and that it is recently being developed. I read also that it would be a very useful test but may not confirm the virus in someone who is in the very early stages and hasn’t developed antibodies yet (versus the throat/nose swab).
03-27-2020 07:47 AM
The testing done here is PCR testing that looks specifically for the DNA/RNA of the virus. That tells us if the virus is present and in what amount. Antibody testing, that I believe is still in development, can tell you if you had it, but doesn't tell you if the virus is still present. Antigens are the bad guys. For many conditions you'll get tested for both antigens (active bad guys) and antibodies (your immune systems response to the antigens.) It's very routine to be antibody positive, but antigen negative, meaning you had something but no longer do. Antibody testing for coronavirus will come in time, but we've got a ways to go yet.
03-27-2020 07:52 AM - edited 03-27-2020 07:53 AM
Also, here in the US, the FDA has to approve any medical test or device so there's time for that to make sure it's safe and effective for what it's supposed to be doing and how it's being done and who has the expertise and training, if any, needed to do it.
03-27-2020 08:12 AM
There are two kinds of swab tests being done now. The most common one, which takes 2 to 4 days to get results, and the newer swab 'Rapid Test' which takes 45 minutes.
Both test methods are designed to detect genetic virus material. Negative result does not mean a person is w/o virus. A negative result means either the virus is not there or in too small of an amount to be detected...that is called 'test sensitivity'. Both of the swab tests are not 100% accurate. The new Rapid test is less accurate than the other, with a 60% sensitivity meaning 6 out of 10 cases tested with the Rapid test will be detected and 4 will be missed. The most common swab test , the slower one, has a sensitivity of anywhere from 85% to 97% depending on the manufacturer.
The new rapid test is not being done on the general population. The rapid test is being done on very sick patients, in hospitals where there are adequate testing labs.
There has just been a new FDA-approved blood test released and is currently being used in at least one county in Colorado right now. This blood test is designed to detect antibodies to the virus. This will determine a person's past and present infection with the virus. It will also help determine whether or not someone has immunity. All of this data will be analyzed and then the test will be distributed in higher numbers. Blood tests for antibodies is the best way to determine someone's infectious state. If they have antibodies then they can go back to work...data needs to confirm that first.
03-27-2020 11:00 AM
Thank you to everyone for your responses!! I really hope they can get the testing situation figured out quickly. I also have heard several experts state that everyone should be tested, but yet I know here in the U.S. only the sick are being tested. I actually did hear I think it was in CO, that there was one town that had enough tests for every single resident and they were going to test them.
Obviously I'm not a medical prof, but common sense to me would be to test everyone to see what we're actually dealing with. That being said though, I wonder if they are waiting to get that anti-body test in place first, so not only can they test a person, but also tell if a person may have already had it and recovered? @SilleeMee Am I thinking of this right?
Will the anti-body test (I'm assuming it will be a blood draw, but not sure) show if a person is positive? Completely negative (never had it prior either) or Negative (but had it previously)---I hope I'm not being confusing lol...essentially I'm wondering if one anti-body test, however they test blood/swab, will show one of the 3 things I just mentioned. Thank you for taking the time to explain this and I wonder just how close we are to having the anti-body test. If I'm thinking of it correctly it seems like it would be a life-saver, literally!
03-27-2020 11:07 AM
Because here we started too late even after knowing it was coming and test kits were available to US but not taken citing inaccuracy.
@Pook Yes, I do agree with you that the testing was definitely not started in time.
I just don't understand WHY in the United States of America we cannot manufactuer the tests? I guess I've just always thought we could handle anything, but sadly I'm seeing otherwise. (just like the nurses wearing garbage bags for a gown...simply unreal)
I see other countries that are testing a huge amount of their citizens and I don't understand why we're not doing that here. What do I know though. I have to trust that the experts are making the right decisions for all of us. I do know that we will all get thru this, but I just wish it would've been taken a little more seriously and yet as each day goes by it doesn't seem to be to me anyways. I just feel like there is much more that could be done.
03-27-2020 11:24 AM
A positive antibody test confirms that a person has contracted an infection in the past. How long ago that was is something which will be investigated after the data is collected. The presence of antibodies means a person could still be infectious. How long it takes to become completely w/o virus after the antibodies are present is something being studied now. How long the antibodies remain active is another unknown at this time. Whether or not an infected person develops a lifetime immunity is yet to be determined. Immunity might be temporary, for example as we see with the flu where seasonal vaccines are needed to maintain an immunity against that virus. Or immunity could be permanent like we see some other viruses, for instance with small pox or measles. One question being asked now about the antibody test is how many days does it take for the antibodies to show up on the test once a person has been infected? This and other questions will get some answers after they get the data analyzed. @BrandiDavis
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