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CDC Issues New Recommendations for Studying Coronavirus Patients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently released “Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Patients Under Investigations (PUIs) for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)” which recommends collection of three sample types, upper respiratory, lower respiratory and serum sample for testing of patients under investigation (PUIs) of the 2019-nCoV.

CDC is monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the Chinese coronavirus. CDC is publishing the full genome of Chinese coronavirus detected in the United States patients to the GenBank as the genome sequencing is completed.

Also read- How this Mysterious Chinese Coronavirus Started?

The fact that coronavirus has caused serious health issues and even death, make it a serious public health threat. The sustainability of this deadly virus is still unclear. There are many more things to know about the 2019-nCoV such as severity, transmissibility and other associated features. Investigations are undergoing.

Coronavirus exhibits asymptomatic transmission. For confirmed 2019-nCoV cases, reported cases have ranged from people having little or no symptoms to people being severely affected, ill and dying. It can sometimes cause lower respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia.

Also read- Coronavirus- Transmission, Symptoms, and Prevention 

Once a PUI is identified, the test sample should be collected as soon as possible but clinical laborites should not try viral isolation from samples collected from novel coronavirus PUIs. The WHO has shared the criteria for a patient under investigation. Public health staff will observe if the patients meet the provided criteria.

Testing for other respiratory pathogens should be done in their initial evaluation and provider shouldn’t delay providing specimens to CDC. If patients under investigation give a positive test for another respiratory pathogen and after consulting with health authorities or clinical evaluation, they may no longer be categorized as a PUI.

For the upper respiratory sample, CDC recommends nasal aspirates, nasopharyngeal washes or both nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab that is made of synthetic fiber having plastic applicators. After the collection of specimens, CDC recommends placing the swabs in 2-3ml of viral transport media.

One of the COPAN’s kits that pairs 3ml of the universal viral transport medium (UTM) with two FLOQSwabs, one mini tip synthetic swab excellent for nasopharyngeal sampling and one synthetic swab ideal for oropharyngeal samplings. COPAN made private label UTM for Becton Dickinson, Hardy Diagnostics (Health UTM), Diagnostic Hybrids-Quidel.

COPAN FLOQ Swabs is like a soft brush that dislodges and collects mucus and cells effectively. When immersed in a viral transport media, it immediately releases the sample. These swabs are less invasive and easy to use, causing no or minimal discomfort as compared to nasopharyngeal aspirates or nasal washes.

The WHO held the second meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. During the meeting, the committee agreed on considering this novel coronavirus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The committee said PHEIC should support China, its people and the steps taken by China to fight against this outbreak. This is a coordinated global effort for improving worldwide preparedness and rewarding preventive measures to control the further spread

The committee believes that it is still possible to stop virus spread if countries implement the strong measures for the early detection and treatment, trace transmission and promote measures like social distancing. As the situation evolves continue, so will the strategic measures and goals for preventing and reducing the spread of this virus. 


Amna Rana

Amna Rana, a writing enthusiast and a microbiologist. Her areas of interest are medical and health care. She writes about diseases, treatments, alternative therapies, lifestyles and the latest news. You can find her on Linkedin Amna Rana.

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