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A rapid test for the detection of the Coronavirus would facilitate the containment of the pandemic. Almost daily, researchers and companies to announce new Tests to the market. First are now available. But what these Tests can and what not?

In Germany there is a discussion about letting more people on the Coronavirus test. Rapid tests could help, infections rapidly demonstrate and help you to get the pandemic under control. Yet such a Test has not arrived in the medical Routine, but around the world, researchers are working on its development.

First quick tests are already approved. You must, however, also be produced in a sufficient number. Every day there are announcements of new test systems. Their speed is their big advantage. But they also have disadvantages and are not suitable for all purposes.

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Faster virus-Tests to help slow infection rate

For the current Standard PCR Test, Doctors take a swab of the throat. The sample is purified sent to the laboratory, and then on the genetic material of the Virus scans. The Test itself takes about four to five hours. Add to this the time for transportation, and currently, sometimes waiting up to analysis because the lab is missing material, or the number of Tests exceeds the capacity of a laboratory. It may take several days until the result when the doctor and the patient exists.

In this time, must go to the Patient is in quarantine – may be in vain. Just in hospitals and doctor waiting times can lead to practices on a test result to a shortage of staff.

Rapid tests are intended to create a remedy here. "With faster testing, you can act immediately, and so the transmission probability from an Infected to the next senken", Hendrik Streeck from the Institute for Virology of the University hospital of Bonn, says.

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The US Test is to demonstrate viruses in 45 minutes

Be applied to an analysis of the devices, which look like the standard test for Virus genetic material, but provide faster results. In the United States, such a quick test of the manufacturer, Cepheid has been approved recently to demonstrate within 45 minutes of an infection.

However, these systems analyze only one sample and are very expensive, says virologist Streeck. "For daily use or Screening of larger groups, they are not suitable."

Another way to faster test results of serologic test procedures. The principle is similar to that of a conventional pregnancy test: to The sample solution, for example a drop of blood with reagents to be mixed is applied on a strip, a colored marking shows then, whether the sample is positive or negative.

Antibody tests should also demonstrate undiscovered infections

Can be detected for an antibody. So the structures, the forms of our immune system, if it comes with a foreign pathogen in contact. As a quick test for acute infection, such antibodies are useful evidence, but hardly as Streeck emphasizes.

"Anti-body can only be at the top of the disease is sure to prove, then, if the risk of Infection subsides again." In the first days after infection, the antibodies may not be demonstrated for sure – the Infected can enter the pathogens but even more.

Useful such Tests can be to a previous infection, to prove and to trace the course of the epidemic. Because antibodies remain in the body, when the disease has already subsided a long time ago.

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Tests need to be thoroughly tested

In a proof of researchers working at the German cancer research center in Heidelberg. "With an anti-body Test, we can identify people who survived an infection haben", the virologist and epidemiologist Tim Waterboer says. "The can then go back to work and no longer need to be protected."

This is especially important, as long as the epidemic is still in full swing. Clinic staff, police officers, supermarket workers with these anti-bodies could carry out their work safely. The first of these Tests are already available, such as from the Berlin-based Biotech company Pharmact.

With the recent boom in test offered Waterboer stresses the need to examine new Tests execution before you enter the market. "It is important that these Tests really work and actually, the protective anti-body of evidence. To ensure this, you have to test hundreds or thousands of samples."

Read also: Top virologist Drosten explains importance of anti-body tests

"This is the means of choice when it comes to suspected cases quickly to testen"

To actually acutely infected persons to quickly detect, scientists work on Tests that identify the Virus itself or its components. A Test contains antibodies against the Virus. Added a sample, the antibodies bind to the Virus so it is present in the sample. The Test is then positive. "This is, in my view, the medium of choice when it comes to suspected cases quickly to testen", Streeck says.

In such a Test, among other things, an international consortium of biotechnology companies and researchers, such as the Braunschweig-based Helmholtz center for infection research works. In six to eight weeks, you want to have a prototype available, which can then be tested in practice, as consortium spokesman Thomas Huber explained. 

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The Test is based on a micro chip that is inserted in a reading device and in a few minutes a Yes/no result. In a later Version of the Chip could send the test results directly to a Smartphone. He is also available for home testing.

Quick test would help physicians solid

Quick test could be the necessary prerequisite to the current output restrictions at least on a regional basis. Because new infection clusters can be detected quickly and limited to a certain region, while elsewhere, perhaps no more stringent measures are required.

Until then, the Standard PCR Test in Germany will remain the medium of choice when it comes to acute infections demonstrate.

Germany was set up very well, explains Evangelos Kotsopoulos, a Board member of the professional Association of Accredited laboratories in medicine e. V. (ALM). Currently in the national laboratories would be carried out over 58,000 Tests daily. "This is a huge amount of capacity that is currently being exploited to the full."

In 80 percent of cases, the result would be available within 24 hours. Sufficient testing is still possible, provided the criteria of the Robert Koch would be adhered to the Institute, therefore, only in justified cases of suspicion Tests.

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