Coronavirus Nasal & Pharyngeal PCR Swab Test SARS-CoV-2 RNA (COVID-19 PCR) Available
CoronaVirus COVID-19 PCR SWAB test from the Nasal and pharyngeal (Throat) areas.
Coronavirus And The Body
Coronavirus – COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory tract infection caused by a newly emergent coronavirus – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – which was first recognised in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Genetic sequencing of the virus suggests that SARS-CoV-2 is a betacoronavirus closely linked to SARS coronavirus 1.
The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and has since spread globally, resulting in the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Current measures are in place globally to reduce the spread of the virus, most commonly from droplets (person-to- person) but also from infected surfaces. The target is to reduce the reproduction number (R0) to <1.0 – i.e. < one person infected by one affected individual.
Infectivity is now recognized to occur before the onset of symptoms and yet high titres of virus can be detected on upper airway surfaces in people who do not develop symptoms.
Infection with SARS-CoV-2, an RNA virus, is diagnosed using reverse-transcriptase PCR. The assays used at TDL show a minimum sensitivity of 98% and a specificity of 100%, with no cross-reactivity with other viruses.
The incubation period of Coronavirus COVID-19 is usually 3-5 days showing symptoms; the range is between 1 to 14 days.
Symptoms of CoronaVirus COVID-19 include temperature (fever), lethargy (tiredness), headache, dry cough, sore throat, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms may include loss of smell (anosmia) and loss of taste (ageusia).
Symptom progression to acute respiratory disease are serious and require emergency assessment. Blood tests taken after 14 days following start of symptoms or virus exposure.
Current evidence associates mortality with co-morbidities (cardiac heart and sugar diabetes), age (increasing over 50-60), gender (male;female ratio 2:1), body weight (raised BMI) and ethnicity. Over 100 medical staff and health workers in the frontline have so far died from working with and treating CoronaVirus.
The majority of people with COVID-19 have uncomplicated or mild illness (81%), with non-specific symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough (with or without sputum production), anorexia, malaise, muscle pain, sore throat, dyspnea, nasal congestion, or headache. Rarely, patients may also present with diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Loss of taste and smell has been reported early in the infection.
A relatively small proportion of people, particularly but by no means exclusively in those aged >70 years, will develop severe illness requiring oxygen therapy (14%) and approximately 5% will require intensive care unit treatment. Time from the onset of the infection to hospitalisation can be up to ~13 days. Of those critically ill, most will require mechanical ventilation. The most common diagnosis in severe COVID-19 patients is severe pneumonia; this can progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome, and life-threatening multi-organ dysfunction and death. Mortality has been estimated at between 1 and 2% of those infected, the higher figure in men.
Current availability of Covid-19 testing is rapidly evolving. This is an essential tool for outbreak management. Antibody tests to detect past infection and recovery are being evaluated and if shown to be accurate, will be available soon.
Limitations and clinical interpretation
As with all viral PCR assays, patients with very low viral loads are less likely to be detected. Negative (or ‘NOT detected’) results do not preclude infection with the SARS- CoV-2 virus and should not be the sole basis of a patient treatment/management or public health decision. Where there is a strong clinical suspicion of an early COVID-19 infection repeat sampling should be considered 24-48 hours later.
Patients with COVID-19 symptoms in intensive care have been shown to no longer carry the virus in the upper respiratory tract. Viral detection tests should assist in the decision on when to discontinue additional precautions for hospitalised patients. Results should be interpreted by a trained professional in conjunction with the patient’s history and clinical signs and symptoms, and epidemiological risk factors.
Dr Martin Harris Private GP in London provides a wide range of private GP services including blood tests and health screening all done in the same appointment