Rapid detection of New Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Antigen, Rapid Test) is used as a primary, rapid test to check for infection with the virus, to monitor the progression of virus carriers, and for epidemiological reasons.
Rapid detection for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is performed by immunochromatography and is used for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral particle proteins in samples from the upper respiratory tract.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a positive, single-stranded RNA virus that causes COVID-19. Like other coronaviruses that infect humans, SARS-CoV-2 can cause infection in both the upper and lower respiratory system. Symptoms range from mild (such as the common cold) to severe (such as pneumonia) in both healthy and immunocompromised patients. Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus occurs mainly through respiratory droplets. During the early stages of COVID-19, the symptoms may be nonspecific and look like other common airway infections, such as the flu.
SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus RNA is generally detectable in respiratory specimens during the acute phase of infection.
SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is found in higher concentrations in the nasopharynx during the first 3 to 5 days of symptomatic disease. As the disease progresses, viral load tends to decrease in the upper respiratory tract, so samples from the lower respiratory tract (e.g., sputum, tracheal aspiration, bronchoalveolar lavage) are more likely to have detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2.
A positive result is evidence of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus RNA. Correlation with the patient's history, clinical examination, and other diagnostic information is necessary to determine the clinical severity of the infection. A positive result does not rule out the presence of a bacterial infection or the concomitant infection with other viruses.
A negative result does not rule out SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection and should not be used as the sole basis for patient management decisions. Negative results should be combined with clinical observations, patient history, and other epidemiological information.
What is coronavirus SARS-CoV-2? What is COVID-19?
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the new 2019 coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus (Corona Virus Disease 2019). The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously detected in humans.
Where do coronaviruses come from?
Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate between animals, and some of them are also known to infect humans. Bats are considered the natural hosts of these viruses, but several other species of animals are known to act as hosts. For example, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is transmitted to humans by camels, and Serious Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) is transmitted to humans by muskrats.
What is the mode of transmission?
While animals are believed to be the original source of the virus, the virus is now spreading from person to person. There is not enough epidemiological evidence to show how easily this virus is transmitted between people, but it is estimated that on average an infected person will infect 2 to 3 other people.
The coronavirus appears to be transmitted mainly through respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing, or simply when people have been nearby for some time (usually less than a meter). These droplets can then be inhaled or deposited on surfaces that may come in contact with other people and which can then become infected when they touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. The virus can survive on different surfaces from several hours (copper, cardboard) to several days (plastic and stainless steel). However, the amount of "live" viruses decreases over time.
The incubation period for COVID-19 (ie the time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms) is estimated to be between 1 and 14 days.
We know that the virus can be transmitted when people who are infected have symptoms such as coughing. There is also some evidence to suggest that transmission can occur from an infected person even two days before symptoms occur. However, it remains unclear whether coronavirus can be transmitted from asymptomatic individuals.
When is a person contagious?
The infectious period may start one to two days before the symptoms appear, but people are probably more infectious during the symptomatic period, even if the symptoms are mild and general. The infectious period is estimated to last 7-12 days in mild cases and up to two weeks on average in severe cases.
How severe is SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection?
Preliminary data show that approximately 20-30% of diagnosed COVID-19 cases require hospitalization and 4% may develop severe disease. Hospitalization rates are higher for people aged 60 and over and for people with other underlying conditions.
What are the symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection?
The symptoms of COVID-19 vary in severity from asymptomatic (lack of symptoms) to fever, cough, sore throat, general weakness and fatigue, and myalgias and in the most severe cases severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and which can possibly lead to death. Reports indicate that clinical progression can occur rapidly, often during the second week of illness.
Recently, anosmia - the loss of the sense of smell (and in some cases the loss of the sense of taste) have been reported as a symptom of COVID-19 infection.
Are some groups of people more at risk than others?
Elderly people over the age of 70 and patients with underlying medical conditions (eg hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer) are considered to be at greater risk of developing severe symptoms. Men in these groups are also at a slightly higher risk than women.
Are children at risk of infection and what is their role in transmission?
Children make up a very small percentage of COVID-19 cases, with about 1% of all cases being under 10 years old and 4% aged 10-19 years. Children seem to have the same chance of becoming infected as adults but are at much lower risk than adults of developing symptoms or serious illness.
What is the risk of infection in pregnant women and newborns?
There is limited scientific evidence for the severity of the disease in pregnant women after COVID-19 infection. Pregnant women appear to have similar clinical manifestations to non-pregnant women and to date, no deaths or miscarriages have been reported. There is no evidence that COVID-19 infection during pregnancy has a negative effect on the fetus. At present, there is no evidence of transmission of COVID-19 from mother to infant during pregnancy and to date, only one confirmed neonatal case of COVID-19 has been reported.
When should the COVID-19 test be done?
Current screening guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus depend on the phase of the epidemic
The test is generally recommended for the following groups:
- Hospitalized patients with severe respiratory infections
- Medical and nursing staff with symptoms, including those with mild symptoms
- Cases of acute respiratory infection in hospital patients or in other facilities (eg nursing homes)
- Outpatients with acute respiratory infections or influenza-like symptoms in some cases
- Elderly people with underlying chronic conditions such as lung disease, cancer, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, and immunosuppression
COVID-19 disease belongs to the Compulsory Notifiable Diseases.
More information about the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and COVID-19 disease and the official state instructions can be found on the EODY website: https://eody.gov.gr/neos-koronaios-covid-19/
Last update: 25/08/2021