SARS-CoV-2

3 factors to help decide on the appropriate SARS-CoV-2 test

SARS-CoV-2

The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has disrupted the lives of billions of people. And it led to a wealth of questions on how to manage the virus. Many of these questions can be answered with the help of diagnostic tests.

Individuals

 

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  • Is my cough COVID-19, the flu or just a cold? 
  • Can I keep my business running? 
  • Did I get infected with SARS- CoV-2? 
  • Do I really have to be quarantined?

Physicians and healthcare professionals

Nurse with stethoscope
  • What is my patient suffering from? 
  • Does the patient need to be treated for flu or COVID-19?

Researchers

 

Researcher with microscope
  • Is this vaccine working? 
  • Can we gain immunity against this virus? 
  • How can we confidently detect the virus?

Governments and health institutions

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  • How can we make sure to not overburden healthcare systems? 
  • How can we keep our population healthy?

There's a growing variety and availability of tests related to SARS-CoV-2. All types of tests can help healthcare providers make more accurate diagnosis, support better management of individual patients and provide better guidance to manage population risk.


Choosing the appropriate test depends on the following factors:

Factor 1

Disease stage

 

Diagnosing active infections and managing resolved infections require different technologies.

SARS-CoV-2 disease stage

Active infection is detected with RT-PCR or antigen tests

SARS-CoV-2

RT-PCR tests detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 based on its genetic make up (RNA).

High sensitivity useful for detecting infection early.

SARS-CoV-2

Antigen tests detect certain proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Easy to perform, with very fast results.

Past infection is detected with antibody tests

SARS-CoV-2

Antibody tests measure the body's immune response to SARS-CoV-2 antigens, for instance the nucleocapsid or the spike protein.

 

We distinguish between qualitative (providing a yes/no result) and quantitative (measure the amount of antibodies) antibody tests.

Factor 2

Testing location
 

Different healthcare settings require different instruments and tests.

Point-of-care icon

Near-patient or Point of Care (PoC) facilities like doctors' offices or emergency departments usually offer a limited range of tests for individual patients visiting the facility.

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Clinical or medical labs offer a wide range of tests for many patient samples obtained elsewhere and sent to the lab.

PoC tests icon

The tests for PoC facilities are designed for smaller testing volumes, with shorter time to test results, helping expedite clinical decision making. They can be used in settings around the world.

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The instruments in labs are usually highly automated and designed to process large numbers of patient samples.

Factor 3

Testing purpose

 

The selection of the appropriate test also depends on the respective question one wants to answer.

Physicians and healthcare professionals

Nurse with stethoscope
  • Testing for symptomatic patients to potentially guide treatment
  • Managing exposed individuals and essential workers
  • Testing of asymptomatic individuals to contain disease spread and potentially manage outbreaks

 

Researchers

 

Researcher with microscope
  • Understanding disease prevalence in order to advise governments, health institutions and healthcare industry
  • Identifying recovering patients who could potentially be serum and plasma donors for developing treatments for COVID-19
  • Supporting the development of vaccines through tests that measure levels of antibodies to the virus
  • Helping with the development of treatments for infected patients

Governments and health institutions

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  • Identifying active or past infections to support better decision making and pandemic management
  • Help facilitate contact tracing and surveillance
  • Expand access to testing
SARS-CoV-2

Testing types provided
by Roche

 

Meeting the testing needs across the healthcare continuum requires a broad SARS- CoV- 2 diagnostics portfolio.

PCR test

SARS-CoV-2
Instrument icon
PoC test icon
  • PCR test to detect SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A/B in a single sample


cobas® SARS-CoV-2 & Influenza A/B Test

cobas® SARS-CoV-2 Test

Instrument icon
  • PCR test to detect SARS-CoV-2


cobas® SARS-CoV-2 Test

Antibody test

SARS-CoV-2
Instrument icon
Test icon
  • Test targeting antibodies against the nucleocapsid protein (qualitative testing)
     

Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2

SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antibody Test

Instrument icon
  • Test targeting antibodies against the spike protein (quantitative testing)


Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S

Antigen test

SARS-CoV-2
Instrument icon
Test icon
  • Antigen test to detect SARS-CoV-2


SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test

References
 

  1. Bullard J, Dust K, Funk D, et al. Predicting infectious SARS-CoV-2 from diagnostic samples. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2020/05/22/ 2020.
  2. Woelfel R, Corman VM, Guggemos W, Seilmaier M, et al. Clinical presentation and virological assessment of hospitalized cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in a travel associated transmission cluster. 2020. medRxiv 2020.03.05.20030502.
  3. Weiss A, Jellingso M, Sommer MOA. Spatial and temporal dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. EBioMedicine. Aug 2020;58:102916.
  4. Sethuraman N, Jeremiah SS, Ryo A. Interpreting Diagnostic Tests for SARS-CoV-2. JAMA. 2020/06/09/ 2020;323(22):2249-2251.
  5. Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. N Engl J Med. Mar 19 2020;382(12):1177-1179.