Coronavirus (COVID-19) Overview

CAUSE

The pandemic COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a new coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2.  SARS-CoV-2 is composed of a single positive RNA strand, which is the target of the rRT-PCR (real time Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test to detect SARS-CoV-2 virion, as well as several proteins including the spike proteins (S), the envelope proteins (E), the membrane proteins (M), and the nucleocapsid proteins (N).

It has been suggested that the spike proteins (S) of SARS-CoV-2 have sufficient affinity to the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2), allowing the viruses to use ACE2 as a mechanism of cell entry. ACE2 is mainly expressed in vascular endothelial cells, the renal tubular epithelium, and in Leydig cells in the testes. It is also shown to be expressed in the lung, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract.

SYMPTOMS

Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions, especially those with higher level of ACE2 due to the use of certain drugs (for example, ACE inhibitors) to treat underlying diseases, such as cardiac diseases, hypertension, or diabetes, are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

TRANSMISSION

Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against this new virus, which has not previously been seen in humans, it is spreading easily from person-to-person, primarily among close contacts via respiratory droplets generated by sneezing and coughing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

LABORATORY EXAMINATION

Laboratory Examination for suspected patients include general examination, etiological (SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids tests) and serological tests detecting (IgM and/or IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2), as well as chest Imaging. Positive antibody tests would indicate that a person had an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, whether he/she has developed symptoms or not, thus they are especially important in detecting asymptomatic infections.

DRG International Inc. is offering an alternative solution to minimize the risks as well as to overcome the challenges facing the nucleic acids tests. We are offering serology tests that can detect IgG and IgM antibodies in human serum.

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IgM antibody is the first immunoglobulin to be produced by B lymphocytes in response to the antigenic epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is primarily detected during the early onset of disease. Subsequently, antibody producing B lymphocytes undergo class switching, resulting in the disappearance of IgM antibody within a few weeks after the initial exposure, replaced by IgG antibodies. IgG antibodies become the most abundant immunoglobulin, remaining in the body after initial exposure for long term immune response.

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