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Scientists create new test more sensitive to COVID
Written by SOT.COM.AL 14 Janar 2022
Researchers in the UK say they have developed a new, more sensitive PCR test for COVID-19. Unlike aquarium PCR tests, the new test is positive only if the virus continues to be contagious. This development comes about less than a day after the British government announced the reduction of the number of days that people have to be isolated, to just five days.
Scientists at the University of Exeter were asked to produce a PCR test more sensitive than those in circulation. They adapted the existing test and applied it to samples taken from 176 hospitalized patients, to find out if the virus was potentially still active.
PCR tests, which we became familiar with during the pandemic, detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as the coronavirus. The problem is that the test not only detects the presence of a virus if we are sick with COVID-19 or if we are contagious at that time, but it can also detect fragments of the virus even after we are no longer contagious.
According to Lorna Harries, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Exeter Medical School, the test produced in this laboratory works slightly differently. It is only positive when you are still contagious.
"A normal PCR test is basically like a molecular photocopy, so it looks for the presence of the virus's genetic material, amplifies it and measures it so you can see if it's there or not. The conventional test does not distinguish between the virus, which is there and active, and the virus that is left after the infection.Our test is a little different.He searches specifically for that part of the virus, which is present only when it is being actively distributed, so it detects the virus only when it is active, "she says.
Ms. Harries and her team began working on the new PCR test at the beginning of the pandemic, which means that their study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, did not focus on new variants, but mainly to how contagious people were after ten days. This was also the duration that people were advised to isolate themselves, at the beginning of the pandemic.
Ms Harries says the study her team has just completed is relevant to the new five-day isolation period just announced by the British government, as samples have been tested at various times.
"In five days, one in three (persons), ie a third of people, are likely to circulate with perhaps alarming levels of active virus. So I think our PCR is actually very important."
Zonja Harries beson se testi i prodhuar nga Universiteti ‘Exeter’ mund të përdoret si një mjet diagnostikues për të mbrojtur njerëzit më të prekshëm.
"Gjatë pandemisë në fakt shumica dërrmuese e vdekjeve kanë ndodhur në azile, ndoshta për shkak të zbehjes së imunitetit të siguruar nga vaksina, ndaj mendoj se testi ynë mund të jetë diçka me vlerë, duke ofruar më shumë siguri".
Profesor Lawrence Young, nëndrejtor i Shkollës Mjekësore në universitetin ‘Warwick’ beson se nuk ka nevojë të ofrohen teste të reja PCR, për popullatën e përgjithshme.
"Nuk shoh ndonjë vlerë në përdorimin e këtij lloj testi PCR si pjesë të procedurave standarde. Mendoj se testet aktuale janë të mjaftueshme. Ky test është i dobishëm në përpjekjen për të dalluar kopjimin (e virusit) pra që të jemi në gjendje të kuptojmë më mirë se për sa kohë njerëzit janë infektues, duke pranuar sigurisht se me përdorimin e PCR-ve aktualë mund të rezultoni pozitivë për një kohë mjaft të gjatë edhe pasi të jeni shëruar nga infeksioni me COVID. PCR-i zbulon vetëm pjesë të vogla të virusit që nuk kanë të bëjnë fare me të qenit infektues, ndërsa ky test i ri arrin ta dallojë një gjë të tillë. Megjithatë mendoj se për qëllime të vetizolimit, testet e thjeshta janë mjaft të mira".
In the UK there has been controversy over the length of time people were required to isolate themselves after being infected with COVID-19, mainly by businesses complaining of staff shortages, caused in part by people being forced to quarantine. Ms. Harries says extending the illusion period is not something that has found support. She adds that when the government makes decisions on this issue, it tries to create a balance between stopping the transmission of the virus on the one hand, and continuing the normal course of life.