FEB 21, 2020 7:42 PM PST

Diagnosing COVID-19

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

Diagnosing coronavirus is done through next-generation sequencing, real-time RT-PCR tests, cell culture, and electron miscopy. For patients, that translates into providing a full medical history, and enduring physical exams, blood tests, and swabs of the throat. Doctors look for symptoms common to the illness when questioning patients, including runny nose, headache, cough, and sore throat. Additionally, the CDC has developed a new test kit for use in diagnosing the virus. This test kit is available in labs that have the credentials to run complex testing across the US and worldwide to organizations like the WHO. 

Although a positive diagnosis can be terrifying for those involved, a new paper from China’s Centers for Disease Control (CCDC) may put patients at ease. That is because over 80% of confirmed cases are considered “mild.” While most patients recover unscathed, older adults and those with pre-existing conditions find themselves at heightened risk. Of the conditions putting patients at risk, cardiovascular disease was the most dangerous. Other health concerns putting people at higher risk include diabetes and hypertension. 

For the study, researchers analyzed all the confirmed cases of the virus available in China’s Infectious Disease Information System as of February 11, 2020. The total number of cases was 44,672. Of those cases, there were 1,023 fatalities, most of which occurred in people in their 70’s. 

Included in the analysis were summaries of patient characteristics, viral spread by age and sex, the calculation of “case fatality rate,” and a visual display of the outbreak.

Although concerning, When compared to earlier pandemics, like SARS of the early 2000’s the coronavirus is much less deadly. SARS had a fatality rate of about 13%, while COVID-19 is fatal for only about 2% of patients. 

Currently, there is no vaccine available for the prevention of the virus. That said, everyday preventive measures can help prevent infection. These measures include avoiding those who are sick, avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth, staying home if you are sick, covering your mouth when you cough, and regular handwashing.

The above video, from Osmosis, goes into detail about COVID-19’s causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and pathology. 


Sources: OsmosisUS Center's for Disease Control and PreventionChina's Centers for Disease Control

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
OCT 07, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 07, 2019
Risk Factors for Gout Revealed by Genome-Wide Association Study
Gout is a common type of arthritis, and causes severe and sudden pain, redness and swelling in the joints....
NOV 10, 2019
NOV 10, 2019
A New Strain of HIV is Identified
For the first time since 2000, researchers have identified a new subtype of HIV....
DEC 11, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 11, 2019
Can optical illusions help diagnose autism?
At first glance what do you see -- a young woman? Or perhaps a smooth jazz artist? This classic optical illusion occurs due to a phenomenon known as binocu...
DEC 17, 2019
DEC 17, 2019
Increased Belly Fat with Aging Linked to Reduced Mental Flexibility
Did you ever consider that your brain can flex similarly to the way your biceps can? Sure, brain flexing is more abstract and less literal, but the concept...
FEB 22, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 22, 2020
Harmful Algal Blooms
Algae is an essential plant-like organism. They contribute to the diet of some marine animals and supply necessary oxygen to bodies of water. Algae populat...
MAR 24, 2020
MAR 24, 2020
Infection of The Heart
Inflammation of the heart muscle can affect the hearts electrical system. This can reduce the heart's ability to pump blood or may cause an abnormal he...
Loading Comments...