How Coronavirus testing is done

With Covid-19 bringing the whole world to a halt, countries across the globe are making efforts to ensure more citizens get tested in efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Kenya so far has 59 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, with the government projecting that the numbers could increase in April if Kenyans are not serious about prevention measures.

What steps are involved in testing? There are two ways of testing for Covid-19.


Swab tests

One method involves taking a swab sample for analysis to look for signs of an active infection. It is wear a health worker takes a sample from the back of your throat with a cotton swab.

It is then taken for testing in the lab. This test detects signs of the virus’ genetic material. It can confirm a diagnosis of Covid-19 if two specific virus genes are identified. If the test identifies only one of the genes, it will produce an inconclusive result.

This kind of test cannot tell if someone has had the virus and since recovered. It can only help diagnose current cases of Coronavirus.


Serological tests

When a doctor conducts a serological test for Covid-19, it requires a blood sample. The process involves detecting antibodies that the body produces to fight the virus. The antibodies are present in anyone who has recovered from the virus. They exist in blood and tissues throughout the body.

Unlike swab tests that detects current cases of Covid-19, a blood sample test are useful in detecting cases of infection with mild or no symptoms.

The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently developing a serological test for Covid-19.

Kenya needs to increase its testing capacity to come up with more accurate numbers about how many cases are already in the country.


See also: Government to boost Covid-19 testing capacity

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