The Importance Of COVID-19 Tests
Although several trials for potential vaccines and cures are underway, there is currently no proven cure for COVID-19. In the absence of a proven cure, testing becomes very important for detection, isolation, and tracing of COVID-19 patients to prevent community transmission of the disease. The average R rate for COVID-19 is about 1.2. This means that a person infected with COVID-19 is likely to infect another 1.2 person(s). COVID-19 testing can help isolate people who have been infected with the disease to prevent other people from getting infected. Screening for COVID-19 is primarily being conducted through Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) and Antibody testing. Currently, the majority of COVID-19 tests are being conducted using PCR. By detecting viral RNA, PCR tests can tell whether or not someone has been infected with COVID-19 early on. A nasal swab test is usually conducted in PCR tests. Antibody testing, as the name suggests, tests for the antibodies that the immune system produces in response to the infection. Unlike PCR tests, blood samples are usually used for antibody tests. Companies such as Bosch have developed rapid antibody tests that can detect COVID-19 in under two and a half hours with great accuracy. The United States of America is the worst affected country followed by Brazil, India, and Russia. Testing in the USA, Brazil, and India have been insufficient for optimal early containment of COVID-19. Japan and Taiwan have been able to contain the deadly disease due to the detection and isolation of COVID-19 cases in the initial stages. Although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had earlier entered the community transmission stage, it has been able to flatten the curve primarily due to mass COVID-19 testing. President Hassan Rouhani of Iran on Saturday has declared that his country has as many as 25 million cases which are about double the current total confirmed cases reported to the WHO worldwide. He also declared that his government expects another 30 to 35 million cases in the coming months. I feel that countries such as Iran have not been able to contain the spread of the deadly virus primarily due to lack of COVID-19 testing kits and medical equipment. The cases of Iran and UAE tell us two different stories. Iran tells us what can happen if testing is unavailable while the UAE tells us what can happen if we test massively.