The hospital's lab team has provided a step-by-step guide showing how they process corona virus swab samples on island.
The tests presently used in Jersey are ‘diagnostic’ tests to see if somebody is currently infected with corona virus, and involve taking a swab from inside the nose or throat.
As laboratory manager Victoria Atherton explains, the sample is then taken to the virology department at the hospital where it is tested for signs of the virus' genetic material.
“It’s my team here at the hospital who have been processing all the covid samples,” she says. “We’re really lucky to have on island testing now.”
Watch a step-by-step guide on how the brilliant Infection and Molecular Sciences Department at the Hospital has been processing the COVID samples. We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is putting in the hours to make sure we remain safe and well during this time. pic.twitter.com/08nknPeVqE— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) April 21, 2020
The sample is 'booked' into the hospital's computer records and sent to the 'containment level 3 laboratory.' There, the team runs a polymerase chain reaction (PRC) test to detect whether the virus’s genetic material is present.
The results of the test go “straight from the instrument to the patient’s electronic records” and the patient is informed whether the test was positive or negative.
Testing for corona virus is a key factor in tackling the spread of the disease, with the message “test, test, test” being repeated by the World Health Organisation. Tests are important for both diagnosing individuals, and for understanding how widely the disease is spreading.
Pictured: 'Diagnostic' tests involve taking a swab of the nose or throat.
Swab tests, however, are limited to diagnosing active covid-19 infections, and there are still questions about the reliability of results.
The alternative ‘antibody’ test instead aims to determine whether someone has already had the virus by looking for signs of immunity.
These tests involve adding a drop of blood to a device that is similar to a pregnancy test. Instead of detecting pregnancy hormones, the device detects antibodies for coronavirus.
Jersey is now evaluating the reliability of antibody tests supplied to the island, and will decide how the tests could fit into plans for easing lockdown restrictions.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.