Right from the start of the coronavirus outbreak, testing has been front and center of several nations’ responses to the pandemic. As examples of COVID-19 improve, the UK government intends to give new tests to patients and health care workers throughout the country.
The worldwide community agrees fairly unanimously that testing individuals for coronavirus are critical to some country’s fight against the spreading outbreak. Nevertheless, the UK Government took a different strategy when they ceased testing people with mild symptoms. Now, as tests are purchased and prepared to be distributed to critical groups across the country, should you get tested?
What are we testing for?
There are two types of testing for coronavirus:
- An antigen test to discover whether you presently have coronavirus;
- An antibody test to find out if you have previously had coronavirus and have immunity.
The coronavirus antigen test involves a swab being taken from your nose and/or throat and analyzed in a lab. Here is the test that’s currently just available for individuals that are hospitalized with severe symptoms and to get a few staff.
A coronavirus test has also started to be utilized at Addenbrooke’s Hospital at Cambridge. Utilizing tests adapted by on-the-spot HIV tests, the hospital can provide results in 90 minutes rather than the 24 hours it takes for the normal exam. It’s estimated that this could be a game-changer in case it could be rolled out nationwide to spot and treat coronavirus patients.
The newest antibody test to find out if you have had coronavirus is currently being tested to learn if it is effective.
Five-pillar testing plan
Following criticism of the absence of testing for coronavirus being carried out in the UK, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced a new five-pillar testing plan in a media briefing on 2nd April. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the plan will:
- Scale-up antigen swab testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals for those who have a medical need and the most critical workers to 25,000 a day by mid to late April;
- Deliver increased commercial antigen swab testing for critical key employees in the NHS, before then expanding to key employees in different sectors;
- Build blood antibody testing to help know if individuals have the right antibodies and so have high levels of resistance to coronavirus; Conduct surveillance antibody testing to find out more about the spread of this disease and help build new tests and therapies;
- Produce a new National Effort for analyzing, to build a mass-testing capacity at an entirely new scale.
Antigen testing – do I have it?
Matt Hancock pledged that England will carry out 100,000 coronavirus antigen tests a day by the end of April.
Presently, despite the capacity to get 13,000 coronavirus antigen evaluations to be completed a day, not all these tests are being completed. As of 9 am on 5th April, 195,524 individuals had been analyzed in the united kingdom.
According to a Downing Street spokesperson, 2,800 from the half a million NHS frontline staff in England had been examined on 2nd April, as widely documented in the press. From 3rd April, according to the health minister Matt Hancock, the figure was over 7,000.
The government says that a lack of funds is preventing mass testing right now. As the whole world needs the same testing products and materials simultaneously, there is tremendous pressure on the companies producing them. This has caused shortages of swabs, kits, and reagents (the substance used to eliminate the genetic material in viruses therefore that it can be researched ).
Since the number of evaluations to be finished ramps upward, other institutions like university labs will start being used for testing, in addition to PHE and NHS labs.
Antibody testing – have I had it?
Researchers are working on a test that detects antibodies in your blood, to discover whether you’ve previously had coronavirus. It would entail testing a drop of blood on a device similar to a pregnancy test.
Your body makes antibodies to fight off germs and remember how to fight the same bug should it look again. Therefore, if you’ve got the antibodies that show that you have had coronavirus, then you might have some resistance to it. Knowing this is particularly important for healthcare professionals and other key employees that are at a higher risk of being exposed to the virus and becoming unwell. It is also important for their patients, as they will not be infectious if they’re immune.
It’s believed that as soon as you’ve had the virus after, you’re extremely unlikely to catch it a second time. But as this is such a new virus, we all cannot be sure how long immunity lasts.
The evaluations aren’t yet available and it isn’t clear when they’ll be prepared. In prep for the evaluation becoming available, the government has arranged 17 million kits. However, that doesn’t mean you will have the ability to pop into your pharmacy to be tested or go online to order them in another couple of weeks.
We’re currently waiting on the evaluations to be analyzed to ensure they are dependable. This must happen. It is worse to get an inaccurate or faulty evaluation than no test at all. We do not want people to mistakenly think they have immunity and place themselves and others in danger.
During the press briefing on 5th April,” Hancock said that none of the antibody tests which had been analyzed was discovered to be good enough to use.
Individuals in the NHS who are on the front lines of this fight against coronavirus will need to get analyzed first to find out whether they may have resistance to the virus. Presently, according to Hancock, 35,000 NHS employees are now off work because somebody in their household has had symptoms of COVID-19.
Can I get tested?
The vast majority of the UK population is presently unable to receive tested for coronavirus, either with antigen or antibody testing. There is not enough equipment or staff for mass testing, even though the government says it’s working to alter this.
You probably will not be tested if you don’t need to visit the hospital for acute or significant COVID-19 symptoms – these patients have been given an antigen test, to see whether they are infected. Individuals with mild symptoms aren’t being analyzed for coronavirus – however, if you experience a fever or a cough, however gentle, you and everyone you live with if self-isolate. You can use the Patient’s coronavirus checker tool to find out whether you need to seek out medical care.
Some physicians and nurses who have symptoms, or who reside with somebody who has symptoms, are also being offered the evaluations. This will likely extend to other health care professionals within the next few weeks.
It’s likely that moving forward, you will be invited for antibody testing as part of this community surveillance program. However, you won’t be able to put yourself ahead with this – it’ll be offered to random sections of the population. You can, of course, deny the test if you are offered it.
Why is testing so important?
Why is testing so important?
It states that the only method to deliver an impactful reply to the outbreak is to learn where it is, how it’s spreading and who’s in danger. Additionally, this helps hospitals to plan for the additional need to understand how they should utilize their tools and clean beds if necessary.
And testing NHS workers, using the antibody test, could mean that lots of crucial staff that are isolating at home because of relatives displaying coronavirus symptoms could return to work.
South Korea is doing the most rigorous testing in the world, offering citizens predominate testing and walk-through clinics to ensure that people who have the virus isolate themselves. They reacted early, buying up large quantities of evaluations and making testing available for the general public. The thought was to trace every case so each could be isolated and handled. As a result, they’ve been able to maintain their deaths and cases far lower than several other nations.
What about private tests?
Some private testing organizations are offering tests for a few hundred pounds. You may have seen several high-profile celebrities testing positive for coronavirus despite having no symptoms – that is because they bought one of these personality tests.
As people become more and more worried about having the virus, more and more of the general public, such as NHS staff, are looking online for the home testing kits.
PHE is clear that you should avoid those tests. It says that there is very little information available about how accurate they are and that the positive or negative result in the evaluation may not be precise.
There’s also the risk of fake testing kits getting available from fraudsters, which will be even more unsafe and unreliable. Not one of the home test kits now on the market was approved by PHE.
So it is best to avoid private house testing and continue to adhere to the principles set by the UK government. Maintain social distancing in any way times, stay at home as far as you can and self-isolate the moment you experience any signs of cough or fever.