Can I test the new coronavirus at home?
Common signs in people infected with coronavirus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
The outbreak of novel coronavirus infections continues, and early and rapid identification and determination of infection would undoubtedly be of great support for outbreak control. So, is there a convenient and rapid test, such as a test paper to get it done, like early pregnancy?
Why is it necessary to develop a new coronavirus self-test paper?
The first step in confirming the diagnosis of a novel coronavirus infection is a viral test. The test method that is currently commonly used and recommended in the National Health Commission's Pneumonia Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Infection (Trial Version 4) is RT-PCR, which is a nucleic acid test with high speed and accuracy. However, this method currently has some limitations and requires high requirements for the experience of the testing personnel and testing equipment, therefore, not all medical institutions can perform this test. In the current epidemic emergency, many primary care and CDC facilities do not have nucleic acid testing capabilities, let alone home self-testing.
The new coronavirus self-test paper is similar to the familiar early pregnancy test paper, except that instead of urine, the test specimen is finger blood. No special equipment is needed, and it takes only 5-10 minutes to help the public or some primary health institutions to complete the initial screening of viral infection, which is still very beneficial for early identification of infected people.
What is the principle of self-testing paper and how accurate is it?
The new coronavirus self-test paper is designed to detect the presence of these specific antibodies for the purpose of detecting viral infections. The test paper is pre-encapsulated with the N or S antigen of the virus. If the finger blood contains the corresponding antibodies, it will bind with the specific antigen on the test paper, and then some reactions will occur, and a suggestive line will eventually appear on the test paper at the detection line, which is positive (under the condition that the quality control line is normal).
The purpose of the self-test paper is an initial rough screening, the accuracy of which is certainly not comparable to that of the nucleic acid test, but it has some auxiliary reference value for confirming the diagnosis. During the development process, due to the small number of samples collected, the accuracy may still be a problem, but later, through continuous validation, feedback and optimization in use, a higher accuracy can be achieved.
When will the self-test paper come out?
It is reported that a number of institutions in China are currently conducting research and development of the corresponding self-test paper. The first step in the development is to prepare N or S antigen, the production of N antigen is relatively less difficult and has already been completed by institutions, while the production of S antigen is slightly more difficult and may take about 2 weeks or longer to develop. Subsequent processes such as pairing with antibodies, validation and filing will allow for market entry.
Typically, the approval time for in vitro diagnostic reagents is long and may take about 1 to 2 years. However, with the current epidemic, many provinces have opened green approval channels to encourage companies to develop self-testing papers and promise to complete post-testing and bring them to market as soon as possible.
Preliminary estimates show that the first batch of self-testing paper may be able to complete research and development and be put on the market in 7 to 10 days.
Where to get self-testing paper? How to use?
The initial production capacity of self-testing paper is limited and will likely be regulated by the state, with priority given to supplying areas with serious epidemics, and when the production capacity is expanded, the public may be able to purchase it at pharmacies or community hospitals.
If you can buy the self-test paper, you can do the initial screening yourself at home through finger blood. If the self-test result is negative but there are suspected symptoms and the infection cannot be completely ruled out, it is recommended to test again on the 2nd or 3rd day. If the test is negative several times, the chance of novel coronavirus infection is low and it may be other respiratory infections.
Once the self-test results show positive, suggesting the possibility of infection with the new coronavirus, there is no need to panic at this time, and should be reported at the first opportunity. To reduce the risk of going out, the self-test result can be reported through 12320, the local public health hotline or the CDC hotline, etc. Professional institutions will evaluate the self-test result and decide whether further diagnosis is needed, and whether isolation or hospitalization is required. Until a medical institution gives a professional opinion, if the symptoms are mild, you can isolate yourself at home first.
Notes for medical examination
1, the day before the physical examination, please eat lightly, do not drink alcohol, do not strain. On the day of the physical examination, please fast and fast.
2, the day before the physical examination to pay attention to rest, no more food after 8:00 pm. Avoid strenuous exercise and emotional excitement, to ensure adequate sleep, so as not to affect the results of the physical examination.
3. Gynecological and urine examinations should not be done during the period of vacation.
1, to ensure reliable physical examination results, please pay attention to the diet, rest, medication and other related precautions before the physical examination.
2、Please confirm the appointment time carefully, know the transportation of the hospital/checkup center, and attend the checkup on time.
3. Please be assured that the medical checkup package is officially authorized by the hospital/checkup center, so please feel free to make a medical checkup appointment.