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Egyptian doctor among Johns Hopkins team Develop in-House Coronavirus Screening Test

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By: Samar Yahya

Newsgate360 – Riyadh: Two clinical microbiologists from Johns Hopkins, created an in-house coronavirus screening test that will eventually require up to 1,0 people a day to be screened by the health system, according to John Hopkins medicine website.

Karen Carroll, director of the Division of Medical Microbiology and professor of pathology and Heba Mostafa, director of the molecular virology lab and assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are leading it.

It is important so that people can know easily if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) and that doctors can check people who come into contact with those patients.

“We will be able to diagnose more cases. This will allow the control of exposure,” said Mostafa.

Mostafa said that development of the test was not difficult. The hard part was getting the necessary viral genomic material or the virus to perform the validation and the reagents required to conduct the test. “Once we had everything we needed, we were able to complete the validation in a short period of time,” she said

Johns Hopkins used the test, which analyzes a nasal or oral swab, for the first time on March 11, and about 85 tests were performed in the first three days.

In early April, there could be 1,0 tests a day, according to Mostafa.

Carroll, professor of pathology and director of the Division of Medical Microbiology at Johns Hopkins said: “Testing is very important in terms of identifying cases so epidemiologists can then contact people exposed to individuals who are known to be positive and make recommendations about home isolation and further follow-up. If people are infected, we want them to stay home.”

The test is now available at five hospitals in Maryland and Washington under the Johns Hopkins Health System.

The test kits approved by the (FDA) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were scarce, slowing down attempts to monitor and contain the virus.

On Feb. 29, the FDA began to require academic medical centers to create their own fast-tracked tests for approval.

The study comes in about 24 hours, and the doctors say they are trying to shorten the time to as little as 3 hours.

For the first time on March 11,Johns Hopkins used the device, which analyzes a nasal or oral swab, and in the first three days, about 85 experiments were carried out.

Testing is available for people who have symptoms of COVID-19,such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath; and who meet other CDC criteria, including travel to countries or states that have high incidences of the disease.

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