The road to reopening safelyFrom laboratory testing at scale to testing near the patient, multiple options for high quality COVID-19 tests will get us to what’s next

COVID-19 Hero Virus

Highly accurate testing at scale is essential as we move into the next phases of the pandemic. Whether testing is done in laboratories across the globe or your local pharmacy, test results must be of very high quality to best enable safe movement throughout our communities. Siemens Healthineers offers a comprehensive testing portfolio from screening and diagnosis to management and monitoring of COVID-19 patients.

Tests in the diagnosis of current infection:

  • Molecular PCR testing is critical to understanding an infectious disease outbreak, and our RT-PCR assay is fundamental to detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection. As the pandemic continues, regional flu seasons and other seasonal outbreaks make it increasingly important to be able to understand whether or not the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen is causing a patient’s symptoms.

Tests in the monitoring of immune response:

  • Laboratory antibody (serology) testing can help in understanding antibody status after infection, to indicate an initial response and help us understand the duration of that response. Our assays offers semi-quantitative results, spike protein receptor-binding domain (S1 RBD) IgG antibody detection and very high specificity (≥99.5%).

Our collaboration with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and JRC (Joint Research Centre of European Commission) is developing the framework and reference that all antibody test manufacturers would be expected to adopt moving forward. With an international standard established and adopted by manufacturers, clinicians would be positioned to track their patients' antibody concentrations, regardless of the test method or manufacturer used. The second step is understanding what concentration of neutralizing antibodies are needed to confer immunocompetence or immunity to the virus, and we are currently working with both CDC and JRC to determine what is the threshold of these neutralizing antibodies sufficient to confer immunity.



VariantPetrol

Learning more about how our immune system responds to variants and how we can test for them is an area of needed research.

There has been much discussion in the media as well as in scientific research articles about the different variants of SARS-CoV-2 and their impact on community spread of the virus, as well as mortality of the virus and the potential for the variants to escape vaccines or our ability to detect them with assays. Variants of concern will continue to emerge, and enhanced surveillance will support earlier identification. How much do you know about variants and their impact on public health programs?

The term “viral variant” can be confusing and is often (and incorrectly) used interchangeably with other terms such as mutations, strains, and lineages. These terms are inter-related but have distinctions.15 Mutations are normal, abundant, and expected, especially with an RNA virus. What is the difference between variants, mutations, and strains?

To better understand the concern for variants able to escape neutralizing antibody, an understanding of the current mutations of concern is required. The identification of “variants of concern” in several parts of the world (including those first identified in the UK, South Africa, Brazil, and the U.S. but now detected in multiple countries) has elevated recognition and prompted investigation.15, 17, 18 More variants continue to be identified globally as countries initiate enhanced sequence surveillance programs. What do you know about each of these "variants of concern?"

More variants continue to be identified globally as countries initiate enhanced sequence surveillance programs, with the greatest focus on mutations in the spike protein. All currently approved vaccines (and most in development) target the viral spike protein, which contains the receptor-binding domain (RBD) that helps bind the virus to human receptor cells. 


1

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35