Testing for the virus....
The Chinese Embassy requires a PCR test at this moment for the Corona Health Certificate, but we are currently working to get other tests validated to bring down the cost of the testing and to increase the speed of the testing.
Several methods exist to test if a person has been infected and each of these methods has its advantages and drawbacks. None of the methods gives 100% certainty that someone has been infected with the Sars-COV-2 virus. But the tests have become more reliable over the past few months. The perfect test will have an easy and comfortable way of obtaining a sample of the patient, will have an easy and fully automated sample analysis and will have a very high sensitivity (correctly identifies those infected with the virus) and high specificity (correctly identifies those who are not infected). On this page the different technologies are described that form part of our current and future test portfolio.
The name "PCR" stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. In this test, specific gene segments of the Sars-COV-2 virus are copied and then multiplied. As this results in multiple copies of unique genetic segments, it becomes easier to detect and measure this genetic material. This test will show if a person is infected with the Sars-COV-2 virus, but not if that person has had an infection with this virus in the past.
This type of test is quite costly and typically the results are only available in 4-6 hours. Furthermore, the collection of the sample can be uncomfortable for the patient as an oro-, and nasopharyngeal swab are mostly used. Correct collection of the sample material requires properly trained staff to prevent a false negative test result.
The FDA has already (initially) approved a few "rapid PCR tests", which will give results in less than an hour. Novamedik is able to offer both tests, as quite often speed is of this essence.
As the cost of traditional PCR testing is quite high and proper sampling performance is regarded as quite uncomfortable by most patients, alternatives have been studied. A few saliva tests have now been (emergency) approved by the FDA as the cost of the test is much lower that the standard PCR test and the collection of the sample is much easier. The technology behind the test is still the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based, but other methods like loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) seem to show promising results.
Even though the sensitivity of the saliva tests seems to be a bit lower than of the traditional PCR test, the increased speed and much lower cost seem to compensate for this.
Novamedik also offers this test for situations that require testing of larger groups of people in a short period of time.
As the Sars-COV-2 virus can easily be transferred via aerosols in the exhaled air of patients, it would only seem logical to use these compounds for analysis and screening purposes. Several companies all over the world have been developing machines equipped with nano-sensors to analyze the breath of patients. This technology is the breakthrough in testing for the Sars-COV-2 virus, as this means that the test result is available instantly and at a minimal cost without the need for medical assistance for collecting samples.
At this moment, Novamedik is working with a company to deliver a compact, automated version of the breath analyzer. Novamedik will equip the breath analyzer with its proprietary AI technology to enhance its diagnostic capabilities and hopes to offer this new test equipment shortly.