Mayo Clinic develops test to detect COVID-19 infection
The test, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS CoV-2), Molecular Detection” has been fully validated. Data from this test will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review and emergency use authorization.
“This test should help ease some of the burden that is currently being felt at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health laboratories,” says William Morice II, M.D., Ph.D., president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories. “We are doing everything we can to help relieve the burden during this time to provide answers for patients here in Rochester and around the world.”
The real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test can identify SARS-CoV-2 from a variety of clinical samples. The PCR assay has been validated to test respiratory samples collected from suspected COVID-19 patients, including nasopharyngeal swabs, sputum, throat swabs, bronchoalveolar lavages, and bronchial washings.
Mayo Clinic will follow CDC’s recommended guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 testing, enabling U.S. health care providers to send testing directly to Mayo Clinic. For existing Mayo Clinic Laboratories clients, the SARS-CoV-2 assay will be offered in the U.S. and abroad.
Faster turnaround time for SARS-CoV-2 result
“An individual can now receive his or her result for SARS-CoV-2 within 24 hours,” says Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., a clinical microbiologist and director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Through collaborations with clinicians at Mayo Clinic and health care providers around the world, Mayo Clinic’s subspecialized laboratories are a critical component to patient care. “We have the expertise to create tests such as this one, and we felt it was our obligation to help ease the burden that the CDC and public health laboratories are feeling at this time,” says Dr. Binnicker.
Mayo Clinic has been in close contact with officials from the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC. All positive samples will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Health or CDC for appropriate follow-up testing and confirmation. Then test results will be communicated with public health officials, per their respective guidelines.
What health care providers need to know
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe. The time from exposure to symptom onset for the COVID-19 virus can range from two days to two weeks.
More information about COVID-19
It’s currently unclear exactly how contagious COVID-19 is. It appears to be spreading from person to person among those in close contact. It may be spread by respiratory droplets released when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes. There is no vaccine for COVID-19.