Why is corona virus testing a difficult process?
Corona virus SARS-Cov-2 testing is a difficult process to detect. The faster a country conducts this test, the more successful it is in dealing with the virus. This success can be attributed to South Korea, Taiwan and Germany and the United States will be on the list of failed countries. The name of Bangladesh may also come. But this testing process made us understand the huge need for science in society, the need for scientists. Virus testing is a complex process that we were initially unable to understand. I think the authorities in many countries did not understand this complication, they did not warn the public that it is not as simple as a blood test.
In this article I will try to give a simple description of this test. At the same time, I will tell you how different countries have tried to solve this testing problem. Here I am writing about the identification of a part of the genome of a virus, not about antibodies or other tests, because the gene test is the main test to detect the corona virus. In this discussion, I am not writing about voluntary restraint, patient isolation, social distance, I am focusing on gene testing. Also those who are not interested in the technicalities of this testing process can skip the following few paragraphs and go directly to the paragraph titled Sensitive Testing Process. (I will refer to SARS-Cov-2 as corona virus for ease of writing and reading here.)
What is a virus?
A virus can be identified by its DNA genome sequence (which is called genetic sequence in Bengali). This method of identification has gradually improved over the last forty years. The method we often hear about is called Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR for short. This method is quite complicated. We do not need to go into that complexity for the overall discussion, but we will discuss the key parts of this process very briefly.
The discovery of the virus in the PCR method is a genetic method. To do this, we need to know the DNA structure of the virus, that is, its genome. In December 2019, when a large number of pneumonia patients were being admitted to various hospitals in Wuhan who were not infected with the common flu virus, researchers in Beijing and Wuhan collected samples from the airways and lungs of five patients at Wen’s Jean Intan Hospital (one of whom later died). They published the results of their study on January 20 . They found a new type of beta coronavirus in their samples. We know of four types of coronavirus, alpha and beta found in bats and gamma and delta found in birds and pigs. SARS and MERS viruses are also beta coronaviruses.
Interestingly, the instruments used by Chinese microbiologists in this study are all from US companies – such as Thermo Fisher Scientific in California and Zymo Research. They used instruments and software from the California company Illumina to create gene sequencing. I mention this because the United States fails to implement the rapid testing process despite the existence of advanced technology in the United States (which I wrote about later). If a country’s political leadership is not efficient, we can expect such results.
In January, many Chinese scientists set the protocol or rules of testing. The purpose of this test is to accurately identify one (or more) parts of the genome of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Scientists at the University of Hong Kong tried to identify two parts of the corona virus genome using RT-PCR tests. One is the identification of the S spike protein gene on the surface of the virus and the other is the identification of the RdRp (RNA-dependent-RNA Polymerase) gene inside the virus. They show that it is possible to detect corona virus by collecting saliva samples from the mouth. However, many Chinese testing procedures have given incorrect results, and they have often relied on CT scans to detect the effects of the virus.