As cases spread across the US, Johns Hopkins Hospital has created a new Coronavirus test, to be used in five Baltimore-area hospitals to begin with, said the university on Saturday, March 14.
Developed by clinical microbiologists Karen Carroll and Heba Mostafa, this in-house COVID-19 screening test may allow the health system to test as many as 1,000 people per day by early next month. Started on Wednesday, Match 11, the new test will reduce the acute shortage of available tests, said the team of doctors from Hopkins.
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus test
As per the university, the newly developed test could help patients to learn quickly if they are the victims of COVID-19. The implementation of this Coronavirus test could help the doctors to test people with who Coronavirus infected patients contacted. The test capacity is expected to reach 180 people per day next week and 500, the week after that.
Mostafa, an assistant professor of pathology and director of the molecular virology laboratory at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, said that they will be able to diagnose more cases, which will help to control the exposure.
It should be mentioned that this test will provide the result in 24 hours and as per the doctors, they hope to shorten the waiting time to as little as three hours. Mostafa said that having an in-house test reduces the burden on the state laboratory. The test is now available at five Maryland and Washington DC hospitals that are part of the Johns Hopkins Health System.
Tests for COVID-19 is increasing
Initially, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended testing only people who had potentially been exposed to the Coronavirus, but on March 4, they changed the recommendations to allow anyone with COVID-19-like symptoms to be tested.
While US is battling to defeat the new Coronavirus outbreak, which killed over 50 Americans so far, the number of available test units is not enough though Stanford Health Care laboratory, as well as Mayo Clinic, had developed new tests.
Mayo, which is one of the several organizations that have been working to develop a test for COVID-19, has the ability to handle 200-300 tests per day. Stanford Health Care laboratory has created its own Coronavirus or COVID-19 test which is expected to show authentic results in 12 to 24 hours.
It should be noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's testing kits, which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration are not enough to deal with the current outbreak and the agency has been under pressure to allow more academic medical centres to develop their own tests.