July 1, 2021

Diagnostic approaches and challenges in COVID-19

Diagnostic approaches

At the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 felt like SARS and MERS. In the pre-existing models, the diagnostic approach was included. However, with the severity of the infection and evolution of novel Coronavirus, it was evident that this infection would need a newer and tactical diagnosis. The impact of the disease, paucity of resources, and need for specific tests mounted the crisis to higher levels. As a result, screening by rapid antigen test and confirmation by RT-PCR became the norm.

There was simultaneous use of Serology and Molecular tests for the first time in the country. SARS-CoV-2 has mutated to date since its start in 2019. The major antigenic proteins incorporated in diagnostic kits are the Spike (S) and the Nucleocapsid (N) proteins. While Spike protein is on the surface of the virus, the Nucleocapsid protein is within the virus.

The diagnostic approaches have evolved to date based on the virulent modes of the proteins and the infection. Like that of Rapid Antigen Cards and Total Antibody ELISA, serological tests cater to the early phase of the disease. After a fortnight of disease, IgM is produced. Full recovery of the patient or both jabs of vaccine, the Neutralizing Antibodies are produced. Antibody testing is ideal for sero surveillance and helps in determining the immune response to COVID infection. Also, it determines the efficacy of the vaccines in the production of antibodies and their titer if they can donate convalescent plasma. J Mitra & Co. has endeavored to rise to the hour of need and developed the COVID-19 Antibody ELISA kits (IgM+IgG+IgA kit and Kawach kit) for sero surveillance. To assess the situation in a post-vaccination scenario, the company has launched the COVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody Microlisa Test. It is the first commercial laboratory test to detect neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. J Mitra has recently forayed into antigen testing and has developed the COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Card and the COVID-19 Antigen ELISA. These kits determine if the antigens are present in the host for COVID infection. The various Govt. Institutions have approved the kits, and they have met the strict product specifications. J Mitra & Co. already has a state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing unit. Its production of new generation kits in record time is a testament to making the country more self-reliant and stands committed to win the battle against COVID.

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