The World Health Organization has appealed people to go for test, test and test without delay to stem the fast-spreading coronavirus in the wake of new estimates about its potential. Dr Brian Monahan, the attending physician of US Congress and the Supreme Court, said that he expects 70 million to 150 million American will become infected with Coronavirus.
Close on it, a secret Public Health England (PHE) document for senior National Health Service (NHS) officials revealed that around eight million people in UK could be hospitalised due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his appraisal of the global pandemic, Director-general of WHO Tedros Adhanom praised public officials for escalating social distancing policies as they decided close schools and cancel many public gatherings. But Considering such an alarming situation, Tedros also urged people not to ignore any symptoms and to get a Coronavirus test done to contain the spread of the virus.
'Test, Test, Test': WHO
The WHO director urged not to ignore what he says is the backbone of the response to Novel Coronavirus which includes testing, isolation and contact tracing. He said these things are very important to prevent further infections and break the chains of transmission.
During a briefing in Geneva he said, "You cannot fight a fire blindfolded. And we cannot stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected," adding that "We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case."
But testing kits for COVID-19 is high on demand and the US is already facing an issue due to the shortage of testing tools. However, Tedros revealed that WHO has sent almost 1.5 million of them to some 120 countries which are currently battling against the new strain of Coronavirus.
In a new tweak to what is known already, the WHO director also said, "This is a serious disease. Although the evidence we have suggests that those over 60 are at highest risk, young people, including children, have died."
After weeks of facing a shortage in the test kits for COVID-19, US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first commercial tests for the Novel Coronavirus which is expected to increase the number of people who can be screened. All these tested were approved within 24 hours of their submission and defended by FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, who said, "This action today shows our agency's dedication to working around the clock to review and authorize diagnostics during this public health emergency."
The latest two tests were developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche and medical-device maker Thermo Fisher. While the officials from the Swiss company said that they have 400,000 test kits ready to be shipped and planned to manufacture 400,000 more per week, the Thermo Fisher representatives revealed that they have 1.5 million of their own kits available and have set a goal to produce five million per week by April.
Meanwhile, clinical microbiologists Karen Carroll and Heba Mostafa from Johns Hopkins said that they have created a new Coronavirus test which may allow the health system to test as many as 1,000 people per day by early next month and will reduce the acute shortage of available testing kits.
Mayo Clinic, which is one of the several organizations working overnight to develop a test for COVID-19, has the ability to handle 200-300 tests per day now. 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.