The rapid spread of covid had a major impact on the laboratory environment as well. As the demand for testing grew, many laboratories stocked up on the testing kits to help curb the need. With constant recent developments and the introduction of new variants, the rate of infection surges, whereas the number of tests and their turnaround time remains insufficient.
While the vaccination program has taken its effect and the people are rapidly getting the shots, this does not mean that the testing demand decreases as the population can still catch the virus. Only once an individual is detected to have the infection will they be provided the appropriate treatment plan. The reduction in mortality and spread of the virus is still largely dependent upon social distancing, and only an adequate amount of testing will help achieve that.
If you are considering introducing covid testing in your lab, we recommend starting as soon as possible. You can connect with Molecular Biology Products to equip your space with appropriate testing gear. The implementation comes with its own challenges and trials. One must choose the appropriate type of testing method that is suitable for their clinic or lab.
Lab owners must also consider factors such as the regulatory instructions, the shortage of testing equipment and reagents, incompatibilities in reagents, and lack of validating clinical samples. Controlling these drawbacks will help you in becoming an established provider of SARS-CoV-2 testing and reporting.
The Three Types Of Testing Method To Consider:
Molecular tests, serology, and antigen tests are the three types of testing that are performed for SARS-CoV-2 virus detection. Each one has its own pros and cons and idiosyncrasies. The sensitivity and accuracy of each also differ. Here is a basic analysis to help you decide which one you want to introduce in your own lab, or whether you want all of them.
1. Molecular Testing:
In this type of testing, the sample is collected from the upper or lower part of the respiratory tract. The patient is requested to relax during the invasive collection of samples. Molecular testing detects viral RNA post purification. The term used for this kind of test is RT-PCR
(reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction). (How to Start SARS-CoV-2 Testing in Your Lab | ZYMO RESEARCH, 2020)
This testing method is the preferred choice for coronavirus infection detection recently. As the tests are extremely sensitive and offer higher accuracy with a detection limit of only 5-10 copies of the viral genome for each reaction. Their specificity is also greater than the other methods, and this method does not involve false-negative results that are common in antigen tests.
However, this type of testing is less rapid. The process of RNA extraction and RT-PCR process takes up to 3-4 hours. You also need special lab equipment in order to perform this test. If you need testing kits or 50ul conductive filter tips-Tecan for your clinic, get in touch with Molecular Biology Products.
2. Antigen Testing:
This method involves the detection of coronavirus proteins in clinical specimens. The primary use for an antigen test is to diagnose ongoing viral infection to avoid further spread. While it is more rapid and easier than RT-PCR, it is not as sensitive. This type of test can also produce false-negative results, and thus is only preferred for patients with relative symptoms. These patients have a higher viral load, meaning there is a higher chance of detection during antigen testing.
3. Serology Testing
A serology test is used to mark the presence of antibodies, Immunoglobulin-G, and Immunoglobulin-M for SARS-Cov-2 in the patient’s plasma or serum. It is generally applied to individuals who are suspected to have carried the infection in the past. They can not be used as an alternative to molecular or antigen testing, as they are strictly limited to the indication of signs of a subsiding infection of the past. They can be used to identify individuals that are eligible for plasma donation.
To sum it up, these are the three major testing types you can consider introducing in your lab. In case you need equipment to build a coronavirus testing station, visit Molecular Biology Products. We have all sorts of clinical equipment including 200ul constructive filter tips from Tecan as well as SARS-CoV-2 testing kits at reasonable rates.
How to Start SARS-CoV-2 Testing in Your Lab | ZYMO RESEARCH. (2020, August 17). Zymo Research. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from https://www.zymoresearch.com/blogs/blog/how-to-start-SARS-CoV-2-testing-in-your-lab