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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The new coronavirus: Who is most at risk and how long will it take to get a positive test?

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Please see below for more answers to essential questions about the new coronavirus.

What is a KPC positive test?

The test measures whether a person is infected with the new coronavirus (or as the World Health Organization (WHO) calls it, non-human coronavirus). If a lab confirms that a person is a carrier, he or she is said to be “positive.” It’s not an automatic diagnosis that the person will get sick.

What is a negative test?

The tests are positive if the virus is found in a person’s blood or sputum or a tissue sample. The test does not indicate if the person has the virus and therefore, does not mean he or she is infected. In addition, it doesn’t necessarily mean the person has not contracted the virus.

What do we mean when we say a person is negative?

If a lab confirms that someone has the virus, it says he or she is negative for the virus. This doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will not get sick. In fact, the relationship between positive and negative tests is not always 100 percent. Once a person has a positive test, it’s the only way that the result can be eliminated, making a false negative test a real possibility.

How do labs run the tests?

Technicians take blood or sputum samples from a suspected case and compare it to a laboratory sample of the same virus or another group of viruses. The results are displayed on a screen. It might take a few hours or more. If a positive test is confirmed, the information is sent to WHO headquarters.

Why haven’t labs tested more of the suspected coronavirus cases?

The key barrier to public health efforts to screen all suspected coronavirus cases has been a lack of ready commercial kits, health officials say. The U.S. government has confirmed 485 confirmed and probable cases, and labs in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United Kingdom have been working on kits to test samples they receive from countries at risk.

How long will we need until enough kits are available?

Manufacturers can make kits to test for just about any virus, and labs do. And it could be as long as five years before the virus is isolated and standardized enough that this is feasible. In some of the cases being investigated now, labs got their samples from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which supplies them under its contract with WHO.

Who are the people most likely to get infected with the new coronavirus?

Among the current confirmed cases, nearly three-quarters of those infected in Saudi Arabia have had close contact with a person with a confirmed or probable case of the virus before the illness was confirmed. Their average age is 38. In most cases, they are hospital or nursing home patients.

How many cases has the coronavirus been associated with?

Although the virus has been isolated from bodies and other living things, the actual number of coronavirus cases is likely in the hundreds. While the virus has been known for decades, it has only been since March of this year that it has been circulating in a human population. WHO said it anticipates that this may change.

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