Skin swabs could be the next Covid-19 test

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THE skin swab test analyzes sebum, which is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands. Researchers from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom led the study.
It has been just over a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declaredTrusted Source Covid-19 a global pandemic.

In that time, more than 121 million people have contracted the virus, and 2.6 million have died.

Researchers have developed multiple vaccines over the past year, which are being administered all over the world. Recently, in some regions, the number of new Covid-19 cases has gone down.

However, testing is vital, as it allows medical professionals to know who has the virus and act quickly to quarantine others who may be at risk of exposure.

Stay informed with live updates on the current Covid-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

A team led by researchers from the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, developed a new method to test for Covid-19. The test utilizes skin swabbing, which is a non-invasive procedure.

There are two types of diagnostic tests that can detect whether a person has the virus that causes Covid-19 — molecular tests and antigen testsTrusted Source.

Molecular tests detect genetic material from the virus, and antigen tests detect proteins from the virus.

These tests diagnose active infections, and medical professionals perform these tests by collecting mucus samples from individuals.

As both types of tests generally involve using a long test swab in a person’s throat or nasal passages, most people consider them invasive.

Molecular tests typically involve a nasopharyngeal swab (a swab of the part of the throat behind the nose), a nasal swab, or a throat swab. Experts consider molecular tests to be highly accurate, but it can take days to get results.

Antigen tests take less time to get results, but these tests are generally less accurate. Antigen tests may have higher rates of false negatives compared with molecular tests.

Doctors also use antibody testing to find out whether someone has recently had an infection.

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