COVID 19 Scary Secrets and Intelligent Devices

Coronavirus or COVID 19 tests available. We have been warned of this pandemic years ago of more dangerous animal viruses affecting humans in the book.

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Scary Origin of COVID 19

Coronavirus is the most common virus among animals that sometimes infected humans. For example., Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) jumped from civet cats to human and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) jumped from camel to human. These viruses created alarming situation years back and got attention from the WHO (World Health Organization) and from some countries around the world. These viruses were declared dangerous as the fatality rate was higher.

Novel Coronavirus 2019 (or) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) also found to be an animal virus. But according to WHO (World Health Organization) report, this virus is really scary and more deadly, as the virus causes a higher fatality rate compared to both SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV. The disease caused by this virus is COVID 19. The whole world is under pandemic now as the death rate trolls in thousands every day. We have been warned of this pandemic years ago of more dangerous animal viruses affecting humans in the book – Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.

SARS-CoV-1

Deforestation is the main reason with makes us come in contact with wild species which carry more deadly viruses. Mother earth is home for many species including humans and it has the potential to feed every species in abundance. It is our duty to take care of this abundant nature. As we did not keep our distance from wild species, the current scenario teaches us a lesson and makes us keep ourselves separate from the others. what an epic pandemic.

COVID 19 testing – a critical coverage

A key factor in finding COVID 19 is testing using medical kits/intelligent devices. Effective testing and diagnostics within a short period of time can control mass spread. Moreover, mass testing is much more essential to save a million lives and to avoid losing control over the spread rate. This also paves the way to predict survival rates. According to the Coronavirus Worldmeter website, the recovered/survival rate is much higher compared to the death rate. Countries which avoided/slowed these mass testing lost more number of people. Italy is now under more pandemic than any other country as the medical emergency situation out of control. The reason behind the situation is that it did not take the necessary primary steps as South Korea did at the beginning itself. Spain is in the next position struggling to fight COVID 19 disease but unfortunately losing its valuable citizens. As per the CDDEP report, there will be even more cases in India than any other country almost around 200 million out of 1 billion population in mid of May.

The condition in the United States is ramping up. Visit Coronavirus map from Coronavirus COVID 19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for more information. According to the data gathered, on 29 February FDA had bent its rules for emergency use of COVID 19 tests beyond the ones officially distributed. Now the smart people are running around testing kits/intelligent devices that are being offered for sale by private clinics (or) officially approved ones for $420. Caution: perhaps some kits are fake ones.

Officially approved tests available

PCR – traditional test

Polymerase Chain Reaction test is true and found accurate so far. Under the test, the swab taken from the inside of the mouth or nose is sent to labs to detect the virus. In the lab, the PCR test looks for the RNA of the virus, which makes this test more efficient and accurate. The slow rollout of this test made the United States lack behind but according to U. S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention center efforts had been taken and they improved reliable diagnostic tests to use them widely before the spread is critical. The only drawback is that the test will require 4 days for results. Also, it puts health workers to a potential risk of exposure to infection. To overcome this scenario company like Earlywell planned for shipping kits to homes and retail pharmaceuticals and send their self swab through mail to nearby diagnostic centers for analysis. Cepheid, received emergency approval for selling small PCR systems which can produce diagnostic results in 45 minutes.

Abbott’s Molecular Point of Care test

Abbott has received approval from the FDA for emergency use of authorization (EUA) to help test people for COVID 19 disease. The company claims to diagnose the test within 5 minutes for positive and 13 minutes for negative. Abbott’s ID NOWTM performs the test and this portable device is very small in size compared to the traditional PCR device. The devices are under mass production and by next week the company is planning to deliver 50,000 devices to U.S. healthcare systems. According to the company’s official video, in this molecular testing when the sample is added to the device, a chemical liquid break open the virus which makes it easy for the device to find the virus. Also, Abbott is planning to test 5 million people in April with the help of the m2000 RealTime molecular system.

Abbott’s ID NOWTM Specification:

OperationTouch Screen
Sample Typethroat, nasal, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs in Direct and VTM
Result Actionable results in 13 minutes or less
Dimensions 8.15” W x 5.71” H x 7.64” D (207 mm W x 145 mm H x 194 mm D)
Whats in the box 24 tests, swabs for sample collection, pipettes, positive and negative controls

The FDA just gave thumbs up for Antibody testing

There are many antibodies created in the human body to fight against foreign bodies of which some antibodies are good and some are bad. This test actually measures the virus RNA in the blood serum with the help of the antibody created to fight it.

BioMedomics

BioMedomics has received approval from the FDA for emergency use of authorization (EUA) to help test people for COVID 19 disease. The company has launched a Point of Care test (similar to pregnancy kit) runs on COVID 19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test which was similar and the one sold in the Chinese market to combat the infection and for rapid screening. The test detects antibodies (IgM and IgG) in human finger-prick, whole blood, serum, and plasma samples within 10-15 minutes per test. This test is portable and can be carried out in Schools, Parks, Railway Stations, Airports.

Steps

  1. Collect blood/serum/plasma samples from the people.
  2. Add blood/serum/plasma to strip.
  3. Place 2-3 drops of buffer in the strip.
  4. Read results after 10 minutes and no more than 15 minutes.

Also, a group of scientists from Bangladesh developed a kit named dot-blot-test which can detect COVID 19 in less than 15 minutes. They received green flag for mass production from South Asian Nations DGDA. This was also similar to the one sold in the Chinese market in the month of January in Hubei. The Chinese testing kit had received approval for exporting to the Australian Market according to Guardian.

PCR testAntibody test
Costs around $120 to $130 for an individual. For a biosafety lab, a PCR machine costs around $15000 to $90000. The best part is that it’s cheap (approx. $3)
The test target is to find the virus (SARS-CoV-2) itselfThe test target is to find the antibody and not virus
The result is very accurate More chances of showing negative results.
PCR test vs Antibody test

Unapproved test available

CRISPR or CRISPR genome editor

A technology that can be used to modify (or) repair genes. Hopefully, this technology can be one of the fastest tests ultimately available to test the presence of coronavirus. Two U.S. based companies Mammoth Biosciences and Sherlock Biosciences are already looking for emergency approval by FDA.

How does the CRISPR genome editor work (or) How to use CRISPR to test the presence of Coronavirus.

By finding a specific bit of DNA inside a cell, the CRISPR can be used to alter that DNA (or) even can be used to turn the gene on (or) off without making changes to their sequence.

Of course, CRISPR can revolutionize the medical field and can help prevent many diseases. It can alter our food (fruits, vegetables in our garden). It can also provide us with the option of changing the genomes of our children. But so far it is considered unethical and strictly used for scientific research.

The worst and scary part is that if a mad scientist gets the chance to use the CRISPR genome editor; he can alter the DNA sequence and can engineer even deadlier virus.

Hopefully, there is no evidence that this coronavirus was engineered.

CRISPR is unethical! Visit this website to know why?

Jonathan Rothberg

An American Scientist renowned for his work towards next-generation DNA sequencing. He announced, his views about a low cost easy to manufacture home test kit that fits the current circumstance to help mass test COVID 19, in a Twitter thread on 7th March. It seems like he also motivated his team saying “If Chinese could build a hospital in 10 days, then we could achieve in developing a true home test kit for COVID 19.

Rothberg said before this virus outbreak his team was working on an enzyme development that would eat plastics and repair genes. Now they are working on a designer enzyme that can do the work of an entire lab technician and machines. He said his team facing a big challenge. For example., to find the virus instantly his test should be able to recognize genetic materials of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) which spreads the COVID 19 disease. This coronavirus is made up of a single strand of RNA.

The sealed home test kit form Rothbergs’s company consists of three tubes with three different enzymes in each. The self-swab should be dipped in each tube in a sequence; chemical reactions take place in each tube and the result is viewable in the third tube through color change.

Steps

  1. In the first tube, the enzyme brake the cells attached to the swab in order to make the genetic materials accessible.
  2. In the second tube, a molecule named primer is present which looks for the unique virus’s RNA code and in the second process, if the primer wasn’t able to find the RNA of the virus, another process begins to add DNA strand to RNA to make DNA molecule.
  3. In the third tube, the enzyme makes more copies of the DNA molecule which makes it easy to detect the virus itself.
  4. The result is viewable through a color change, which can be captured using a smartphone and sent for obtaining more information.

He added to his above claim that the test occasionally gives false-positive and false-negative results. In order to gear up this problem, he held a discussion with Gates foundation. The foundation has its own testing kits and analysis on a “gold standard” machine.

Enzyme Paper Device

Jacqueline Linnes, a biomedical engineer, from Purdue University had developed an enzyme paper device that quickly detects and accurately diagnoses MERS-Cov virus even to a small quantity. This device is handheld and portable. As this device is not just limited to diagnose MERS-CoV virus, it can also be use dot detect COVID 19. In the current situation to develop more number of devices and to establish a manufacturing unit, it would cost at least $2 million. Jacqueline Linnes research paper on the device was recently published.

Such a good mind like Jacqueline Linnes should definitely be appreciated for her contribution to this society.

Further Reading

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Guidelines: Once you had gone through “id“, start reading the above content and see how quickly you recall the information. Practice often and improve your memory!

coronaviruscoronavirus-animal
civet cats to humanscivet-cats-to-humans
higher fatality ratehigher-fatality-rate
deforestationdeforestation
mass testingmass-testing
save a million livessave-millions
United States is ramping upunited-states-ramping
PCR testpcr-test
molecular testingmolecular-test
point of care testpoint-of-care-test
PCR test vs Antibody testcompare
repair genesrepair-genes
prevent many diseasesprevent-many-diseases
mad scientistmad-scientist
three tubes with three different enzymesthree-tubes-with-three-different-enzymes
enzyme paper devicepaper-enzyme-test
picture credit: Pixabay.com
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