Globe Health News
Image default

Why Your COVID Test Results Take That Long

Jan. 14, 2022 — As the Omicron variant has spread across the United States, which is now blamed for more than 98% of COVID-19 infections, the demand for testing in laboratories has soared — especially since home antigen tests are scarce. Rising, too, are the complaints from test takers, who echo this troubling question:

What takes so long to achieve results? People also wonder if they should isolate or continue with their usual schedule.

The increased size is a major reason of course, but it is not the only reason. More complex and complex than most people realize, Milner et al., experts say, is the chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, an organization for laboratory professionals. Including the outbreak of COVID-19 among laboratory staff, it can delay the response time for results.

First, the volume version

National as well as daily statistics Statistics from individual laboratories reflect the surge in test requests.-Day period.

By Jan. 12 Quest Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory with more than 2,000 patient sites in the United States, has recorded 67.6 million COVID tests since they launched the service in 2020. That's an increase of nearly 3 million since December.21, when their total was 64.7 million. University of California Health System Microbiology. He doesn't think demand has peaked. In early November, says Stephen Kelly, CEO.

Beyond scale, there are other barriers to the time required to complete the process. . One big misconception is that the swab is analyzed directly at the collection point. This is usually not true – with some fast (and expensive) PCR test sites sometimes the exception. It may be carried by mail to a local laboratory nearby, or it may be shipped away, especially if collected in a rural area. Says. Samples should be stored at appropriate temperatures. Conveyors often store samples in coolers for transportation.

Access to the lab

Once the swab arrives at the lab, you must be logged in. The volume of tests received at the same time – and what is the capacity of the laboratory, given the personnel and equipment for analyzing the samples.

The laboratory staff is another factor. With the increasing demand for tests, laboratories are having difficulty adding enough staff. Garner says requirements vary from state to state, but those analyzing the tests should be clinical laboratory scientists with training and experience. And like other companies, the labs handle employees who contract COVID-19 and must leave work to isolate them. His company has hired another 30 workers in the past three weeks, bringing the total to 160. Some work 7 days a week.

Test equipment – or the lack of it – can also slow down the process. While Garner says he is often asked if there are fake test labs that appear, he says he is not aware of any. It is easy to check lab credentials.

Forensic laboratories are accredited under the CLIA – Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988. Under CLIA, federal standards apply to all US facilities or sites that test human samples for health assessment, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of disease. The CDC has a CLIA Lab Search Tool to search for a laboratory by name to verify its certification.

Countries may also provide information on certifications and other test details. For example, the California COVID-19 Testing Task Force publishes a list of laboratories detailing locations, the number of tests performed per week, and average response times. Tests to detect COVID-19. Antigen tests detect the presence of certain proteins in the virus.

"Laboratory antigen tests are not much different" from rapid home tests, Milner says. There is a control line and a test line used to detect the virus.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests detect the genetic material of the virus.

“RNA is extracted from the sample and purified via our extraction tool,” says Maria Corbett, compliance manager at Paradigm Laboratories.

Special chemicals and enzymes have been added. A PCR machine called a thermal cycler performs a series of heating and cooling steps to analyze the sample. PCR technology allows scientists to amplify small amounts of RNA from samples into DNA which replicates until any virus present is detected. a sample. This signal was detected by a polymerase chain reaction machine.

The PCR test can also provide an idea of ​​how much virus a person is carrying, says Chris Johnson, medical director of Paradigm Services.

Once the analysis begins, it is possible to estimate how long the results will take, Milner says.

The longest PCR test, which varies from lab to lab but often requires about 1.5 to 2 hours, he says. Analyzing the antigen test "takes 20 minutes at most," Milner says. They can be changed for faster results, Milner says. In general, a positive result appears faster than a negative result. "If you read it in real time, you can get a positive result in 20 to 30 minutes and report it." The site, Milner says, allowing for faster conversion. "If it's CLIA certified, the quality of that test should be just fine," he says. , for example, says the shift schedule begins at the end of the day in which the sample is collected and ends at the end of the day in which results are reported. VERIFICATION OF RESULTS

A positive result is reported as such, as for a negative. "There is no confirmation test," says Garner. "This is why labs need to do reliable testing."

But the test is repeated if Garner says the original result is not definitive, and if it is not conclusive a second time? We "issue it as unspecified" and another test may be ordered.

Once completed, results are sent via text or email.

Long-Term Solutions

With no slowdown in demand expected in the near future, long-term solutions are not eeded.

"From a lab standpoint, we're all so frustrated that we don't have the infrastructure and capacity to meet the needs," says Garner. "Overall, we haven't built the testing infrastructure needed to fight the pandemic." Infrastructure. "We want to make sure it's done right," says Kelly.

Source link

Related posts

CDC Monitors Potential Monkeypox Exposure in U.S.

Globe Health News

What Works and What Doesn’t

Globe Health News

Medicare Mulls Coverage for New Alzheimer’s Drug

Globe Health News

Leave a Comment