During present times, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and specific antibody testing techniques are the best ways to test COVID-19 patients for detection, as approved by global healthcare organizations. Both of these techniques have their limitations and though researchers are looking into alternative ways to detect the SARS-CoV2 virus, let us have a brief look into the current pattern of COVID19 testing via viral transport medium kits.

What is PCR Testing?

The majority of the current COVID tests are using PCR to detect the genetic information of the virus, i.e., the RNA of the virus, in the collected sample from an actively infected patient. The PCR tests are used for directly detecting any presence of viral antigen, rather than detecting the patient’s immune response or antibody populations in the body. This test therefore can be used for early detection as it can detect RNA of the virus even before the body starts responding with an immune response. Thus, the PCR test gives a good indication of who is infected, so that they can be isolated and people they’ve been in touch with, can also be quarantined and tested. This can therefore break the transmission chain and prevent community spread of the virus. 

Large scale PCR tests can be very labor-intensive, with several stages of error chances between stage of sampling and analysis. Reports indicate that 30% of the times, false negative test results can come and normal healthy patients are also tagged as COVID positive. To reduce errors in processing stages, researchers are gearing towards more automated processing of the samples and thus the answer to ‘how much right is the final result of detection?’ is getting a finer polish.

What is Serologic Testing?

PCR testing is generally an antigen testing technique whereas serological tests detect antibodies. These tests detect the immune response of the body and indulges in quantifying the severity of COVID-19 disease.

Although this technique does not help in early detection of the viral infection, this gives information regarding the immune activity of a community, and data of this test can further prompt in selecting plasma therapy donors to perform passive immunization on COVID patients. If public health officials can gather info on what proportion of the population are immune to the SARS-CoV2 virus, it can also help lift the social distancing restrictions on movement as the presence of a high number of people, who have immunity, will prevent the virus from circulating within the community population.

Unlike PCR tests, where swabs are commonly used to detect Covid-19, serological testing usually uses blood samples because there will be a very less coronavirus population, but more antibody presence, circulating in the blood as compared to the respiratory tract.

Besides these tests, researchers have also resorted to point of care testing and lateral flow assays to detect the virus by targeting virus surface biomarkers.

How does Viral Transport Medium Kit help in COVID-19 Testing?

Amidst the busy schedule of COVID-19 PCR and serological tests all around the globe, one should always remember that the first step of COVID testing or detection starts with the viral sample or specimen collection from the patient’s body. This collection stage of COVID-19 detection utilizes Viral Transport Medium kits. Viral transport medium (previously, viral transport medium was used in the form of tissue culture medium and glycerol transport medium) is prepared using optimal buffer solutions to maintain medium pH and contains antibiotics and antimycotic agents to prevent any bacterial and fungal contamination. Viral transport medium is specially used to maintain the viability of the virus after the load is collected from the patient using a nasopharyngeal swab. 

With more cases still prevalent around the world, more number of patient testing is the only way to clarify the picture of infected patients and understanding the count of quarantined candidates to prevent any form of community spread. But with more number of testing, the world is facing an increased demand of viral transport medium kits to help in the collection procedure of patient samples and to maintain the supply of the required transport medium kits, several companies are coming up to ramp up their production capacities in order to sustain COVID healthcare management.

We at Advancells have also joined hands with the frontline COVID warriors with our high-quality AdvancellsTM VTM kits that assure swift delivery and high-end functionality when it comes to COVID-19 sample collection requirement by various research institutes, clinics, and pathological labs. For more updated information and viral transport medium related inquiries, contact us at [email protected]