Epidemiologist: Taking Samples an Achilles' Heel of Fight Against Coronavirus

26. marca 2020 20:09
Bratislava, March 26 (TASR) - The greatest shortcomings in Slovakia's fight against the new coronavirus lie in the testing of people for the virus, a process that leaves a lot to be desired, thinks epidemiologist Alexandra Brazinova of Bratislava-based Comenius University's Medical Faculty. The cardinal task of epidemiologists is to communicate with people, who have confirmed COVID-19 illness and secure their quarantine. Furthermore, they must seek and reach out to everyone who was in contact with the infected, which amounts to 20 individuals per one infected on average, and make sure these people are quarantined and tested, too. "I don't know if you can imagine the scope of this work, but I can say that we are busy almost round the clock," stated Brazinova, who has been at the centre of things since the beginning of the outbreak. According to the epidemiologist, an ideal scenario would be to test everyone interested. "The problem is not so much in the tests in and of themselves; laboratories would be perfectly capable of testing several times more people than today. What limits us is the process of taking samples," she pointed out. One of the options is to have a special crew take samples from people in home quarantine, but this requires biohazard suits that can be used only once. The crew can collect only 30 samples in 24 hours. For the time being, home samples in Bratislava are used only for immobile patients. It is up to every person how long the outbreak will ultimately last, added Brazinova. mf/mcs/am
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