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Still no breakthrough in early tests for coronavirus: German virologist

A German virologist said on Thursday there was still no breakthrough for early coronavirus tests and warned that existing methods could show wrong results.
Still no breakthrough in early tests for coronavirus: German virologist

Berlin [Germany], Mar 27 (Xinhua/): A German virologist said on Thursday there was still no breakthrough for early coronavirus tests and warned that existing methods could show wrong results.

"We need a test that can detect the virus from the beginning, not one that detects the antibodies after about 10 days," said Christian Drosten, head of the Institute of Virology at the Charite University Hospital in Berlin, in a daily podcast by broadcaster NDR.

The expert said that throat swabs may not be reliable as patients who have been infected for some time could still show positive test results by using high-resolution CT images of the lungs but not necessarily by throat swabs.

Drosten said the drug Remdesivir would have an effect against the coronavirus in cell cultures as it inhibited the spread of the virus in the body.

Chloroquine, a drug developed to tackle malaria, would not be completely free of side effects, said Drosten. The drug is effective against the old SARS virus in cell cultures and may also have a positive effect against other viruses.

However, Drosten remained "very skeptical about Chloroquine and whether it really helps in the end" and could not tell the exact effects until "a big study" is conducted.

Drosten advised that patients in the early stage of the infection, which is called the virus phase, should receive antiviral medication. In the second week, while the virus is still in the body, the immune phase would begin. In the third week, practically only the immune phase remains.

This would cause a decision problem. In this first week, one would have to medicate without knowing how serious the individual case would turn out.(Xinhua/)

( With inputs from ANI )

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