All around the world, scientists are trying to develop a test for COVID-19 that would give a result in less than an hour and wouldn’t need burdensome equipment or highly trained staff to operate it. The new tests would be able to be done in doctor’s offices, or even at home. There are some tests currently in the market right now that you can use but they aren’t overly accurate. Experts are indicating that the next edition of point-of-care tests would be more reliable. However, these are still in the early stages of development, so they won’t be available to the public for several months.
The goal of these new tests is to be able to provide results very quickly, which would help to inform people in real-time if they’re infected rather than finding out days later. This would reduce the number of people who they could potentially expose to the virus. The new tests would be ideal for emergency rooms to use to be able to screen patients rapidly. However, they could also be used in workplaces and schools to aid in monitoring the health of employees and children.
Some researchers are trying to develop a test that will screen patients for an active infection and antibodies at the same time. This would be beneficial in letting a person know not only if they’re currently infected, but if they were previously exposed to the virus. Another group of scientists are looking at a technique that involves copying genetic material at a single temperature. If the virus is present, a gene-editing tool, Crispr, makes the contents glow at a wavelength detectable by a smartphone. The entire process takes less than an hour and has been proven to correctly identify active infections almost 90% of the time. Still another possibility is adding spit to a premixed chemical solution, which is then “cooked” at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. If the contents turn yellow, it’s positive, whereas, if it’s red, negative. Since the test can detect even tiny amounts of virus, it’s more sensitive than similar tests. In addition, it gives false negatives less than 5% of the time.
As these and many other potential testing solutions are being examined and worked on, other scientists are trying to find ways to combat the virus. One way to do this is to clean, not only your hands, but surfaces. To help with this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), just announced that it has approved two Lysol products for use against COVID-19. These products are designed to be used on hard, non-porous surfaces.
There are over 420 products listed by EPA that are strong enough to be used on “harder-to-kill” viruses. However, Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist are the first two disinfectants to actually prove that they kill the novel coronavirus. The agency said in that in laboratory testing both products showed that the virus was eliminated after two minutes of contact with the disinfectants. Lysol issued a statement saying that they’re currently working on other products to see if they’ll also be effective specifically against COVID-19.