Coronavirus has claimed more than 8,000 lives and has infected more than 2,00,000 lakh, globally. 

While the number of cases are rising every day, more than 120 affected countries are doing everything in their capacity to contain the pandemic. 

If you have a cold, cough or fever but, don’t have a history of travel to countries that are high-risk at the moment or have not come in contact with travellers, there are high chances that you will not be tested immediately for coronavirus.

In times like these, it is important to follow guidelines provided by the WHO and, not panic because there are limited number of test kits available right now. 

But, if you think you have the virus but, are still unsure of whether you should get yourself tested or not, here’s what you need to know about the test. 

1. When should you take the test? 

It is recommended that only those with symptoms of infection or those who have traveled abroad, where the infection rates are high, should take the test.  

2. What is the name of the test that detects coronavirus? 

For the time being, there are no readily available test kits in the market. However, this virus can be detected with a series of tests conducted in a hospital. 

3. Which labs can conduct the coronavirus tests? 

All labs aren’t equipped to conduct tests, only specialised labs certified to do so can conduct coronavirus tests. 

4. Is there any cure for coronavirus or COVID-19? 

No. As of now, there is no cure for coronavirus.

Now, let’s move on to the part where we tell you how coronavirus is tested?

The lab will take one of the following samples from you: 

– A swab test: The lab will take a special cotton swab and sample the inside of the throat or nose.
– A nasal aspirate: The lab will inject a saline solution into your nose, then remove the sample with gentle suction. 
– A tracheal aspirate: A thin, lighted tube called a bronchoscope goes into your lungs, where a sample will be collected.
–  A sputum test: Sputum is a variation of mucus from your lungs that can be coughed out or sampled from the nose with a swab.
– Or a blood test.

Once the sample is collected, it will be analysed for the virus. 

Wondering, how the test is conducted? 

RNA is the genetic material that is the key to identify coronavirus. The Indian Express reports, according to the WHO, routine confirmation of cases of COVID-19 is based on detection of unique sequences of virus RNA by Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) such as real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR), with confirmation by nucleic acid sequencing when necessary.

The run time for each test is around 2 hours but, because extreme precaution is needed during transportation, preparation etc, it takes 8-9 hours to conduct both tests. 

Click here to know about the symptoms and the preventive measures.