White House coronavirus coordinator reveals 'breakthrough' which US requires

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Updated: Apr 28, 2020, 06:08 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in USA Photograph:( AFP )

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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antigen tests are simpler and they can provide results in as little as 15 minutes.

The White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, has revealed a "breakthrough" which US needs in order to screen large numbers of people.

As per Birx, this breakthrough is antigen testing which is often used to check for the flu and strep.

Also read: When will COVID-19 end in US, UK, France, India? Study predicts dates & month

The human body recognizes and responds to antigens. The antibodies produced by their bodies defend them against intruders such as antigens.

Antigen tests look for pieces of a virus which are usually the proteins that cover its surface.

Also read: Has US been undercounting COVID-19 deaths? A new analysis suggests so

It differs from a majority of Covid-19 tests, which look for the genetic material of the virus and require a number of chemicals to operate, many of which are in short supply.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antigen tests are simpler and they can provide results in as little as 15 minutes.

However, major limitations of the test are that it can also take hours to run, it is potentially less reliable, they're not easy to make, and validating their accuracy can be time-consuming and expensive. They did not have a big market before now. 

Antigen tests are tailored to the 3D structure of the targeted virus, which is more nebulous than a neat, orderly genetic code. Making a test that comes back positive for the novel coronavirus and negative for everything else is extremely difficult.

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