At the beginning of the year 2020, a new type of disease put almost all countries in the world in a state of emergency. "COVID-19", a new form of the so-called corona virus, spread abruptly from its origin in China to other regions within a few weeks and months and put the respective health systems to a severe test.
In order to relieve hospitals and other medical staff and also to reduce their risk of infection, many companies in that sector began to work on alternative solutions. Apart from human resources and hospital beds, bottlenecks in testing are not uncommon. For this reason, selected service providers offer test kits that can be used independently. In our Corona Test 2021 we want to provide the core information on this disease as clearly as possible.
Among other things, you will learn what the disease is all about, how you can protect yourself and your fellow human beings as effectively as possible and what you should pay attention to in connection with the testing process. To make it easier for you to choose a test kit, we present selected products in more detail below.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Corona Test: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria of corona tests
- 5 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before getting a Corona Test Kit
- 5.1 What is behind the name coronavirus?
- 5.2 What symptoms can be used to recognise the coronavirus?
- 5.3 What course can the coronavirus infection take?
- 5.4 What are the risk groups associated with coronavirus?
- 5.5 How can I protect myself and my fellow human beings from infection with the coronavirus?
- 5.6 What should I pay special attention to before and after an analysis for coronavirus?
- 5.7 When can vaccination for the coronavirus be expected?
- 5.8 What significance is attached to the so-called reproduction rate in connection with the coronavirus?
- 5.9 Can animals be infected with the novel coronavirus?
- 6 Conclusion
The most important facts
- The coronavirus "COVID-19" is a new type of respiratory disease. The symptoms are largely the same as those of influenza and can vary in severity.
- The "COVID-19" coronavirus spread in the form of a pandemic at the beginning of the year 2020. Apart from China, where it originated, several cases have been diagnosed on every continent.
- A test for the coronavirus "COVID-19" can be carried out by medical professionals after prior consultation. Alternatively, however, a privately conducted self-test can also provide corresponding results.
The Best Corona Test: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria of corona tests
Before you consider testing for the novel corona virus "COVID-19" on your own, you should compare possible test kits as closely as possible. Within this framework, you will be able to determine differences in the following areas:
In the following, we will describe these areas in more detail and explain what conditions you can expect here. If you follow our advice, it should not be difficult for you to make a conscientious choice.
In a direct comparison of the test kits in question, you will generally find a very varied price culture. Here, both two- and three-digit purchase amounts are in the average normal range. In this context, however, the type of testing can also play a decisive role.
Within this framework, the purchase price can also be an indicator of product quality. Some tests are advertised with a particularly low price and quick result, contributing to the widespread scepticism of those approaches. However, this does not mean that more expensive kits are automatically of high quality. Basically, you should also consider reviews of the product as well as the provider.
Duration & test method
Apart from the price, the philosophy around testing also varies from provider to provider. Basically, however, two methods can be used in this context. Apart from swabs within the upper respiratory tract, testing with the body's own blood is also possible.
The time it takes to obtain a measurable result depends on the test method.
If it is a test that needs to be done in combination with a laboratory, you will need to allow a longer period of time for a result. In the worst case, however, you should be aware of an infection or antibody formation within a few days.
In the latter case, however, you should be aware that testing can be effective at the earliest one to two weeks after recovery.
Scope of purchase
Before you decide on a test kit in connection with the coronavirus "COVID 19", you should also take a closer look at the price-performance ratio of your product. If the product requires completely independent testing, the necessary accessories such as pipettes, test cassettes and buffer solutions should be available in sufficient quantities.
If your test kit includes a necessary laboratory test, this should ideally include all necessary costs of the test procedure as well as delivery and return. Alternatively, there could be a risk of a cost trap. In this case, the shipment must be carried out by you in order to minimise the risk of infection.
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before getting a Corona Test Kit
The decision to test yourself for the novel corona virus should not be taken arbitrarily and should only be based on essential information and considerations. In our following guide, you will find the key data that you can subsequently use as a basis.
Apart from transmission through social contacts, transmission through various surfaces may also be possible. According to a study in the "New England Journal Of Medicine", cardboard and copper are among the materials that give the viruses the comparatively shortest lifespan of four and 24 hours, respectively. On stainless steel and plastic, an activity of up to two and three days, respectively, is possible (1)
Since no large-scale adjustments or measures had been taken at the beginning of 2020 due to a lack of information, the virus was able to spread outside China.
In the following months of February and March, the disease was able to spread, especially in European countries and the USA. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared pandemic status. In the meantime, illnesses caused by "COVID-19" have been reported in almost every country worldwide. Although the spread could be slowed down by measures that had been introduced in the meantime, such as curfews, business closures and the prohibition of events, the number of worldwide infections rose to one million on 4 April.
Less than two weeks later, this number had doubled. The first peak of the pandemic occurred over the second half of the calendar month of March 2020, during which a rapid increase in new infections was detected.
According to daily situation reports published by the "WHO", the worldwide number of infections rose from just under 153,000 on 15 March (2) to over 820,000 cases by 1 April 2020. (3)
|Shortness of breath||Often||Never|
Although this framework clearly identifies particularly frequent symptoms, other, individually dependent symptoms can also be identified. These are associated with the following symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stuffy nose
During the month of April, reports also increased that an infection with the coronavirus "COVID-19" can also cause damage to the nervous system. According to a study in the scientific journal "JAMA Neurology", corresponding symptoms such as the loss of the sense of taste and smell could be detected in almost one third of the 214 patients tested (4)
Through further research or observations, additional symptoms or at least indications pointing to a possible infection could be found. According to a study conducted in Italy, every fifth hospitalised "COVID-19" patient was diagnosed with skin changes or discolouration of the feet (5)
Possible courses of disease of the coronavirus "COVID 19
Basically, you should note that the incubation period of this virus can cover a period of up to 14 days. On average, however, the first symptoms appear within 5-6 days.
The majority of those affected have to struggle with a fever, which can rise to 39° Celsius in severe cases.
If the course is only mildly symptomatic, the corresponding accompanying symptoms will completely subside within the first 7 days. If the disease is more severe, the coronavirus "COVID-19" can be detected, especially in the upper respiratory tract.
In particular, from an advanced age of about 50-60 years, the chances of a fatal course increase sharply.
In mid-April 2020, almost 90 % of all deaths in Germany had an age of 70 or higher (7) Another group of people who should be particularly protected against infection are those with chronic medical conditions. Heart, lung and liver diseases can strongly influence the probability of a critical course. This is also true in the case of diabetes, cancer and a weakened immune system.
As already mentioned, the course of this viral disease can vary greatly and no general explanation is possible. For this reason, you should be aware that severe to critical courses can also occur in younger people or in people without previous illnesses (8)
Cover your nose and mouth with a face mask in case of an outbreak. Additional gloves are recommended for your own protection
In this context, attention to your own respiratory hygiene is also of particular importance.
If you have to sneeze or cough yourself, you should use your elbow instead of your hand to cover it. Alternatively, you can use a handkerchief, provided you dispose of it immediately afterwards.
Careful social contact should be taken.
If there is currently a risk of a major wave of infection, you should ideally keep any meetings with friends, relatives and acquaintances to a minimum. Exceptions to this rule include people in your shared apartment and people who are dependent on you for care or support.
When should you be tested for corona?
Testing for an infection with the corona virus "COVID-19" is in principle only sensible if three possible criteria are fulfilled. These are:
- The onset of flu-like symptoms
- Staying in a risk area within the last 14 days
- Contact with a confirmed infected person within the last 14 days
If one or more of these criteria apply to you, you should see your family doctor immediately and have a test carried out. It is up to your doctor to decide whether an analysis is actually necessary after describing your situation.
The test is carried out by taking a sample from your respiratory tract, i.e. either the nose, mouth or throat area. This sample is then sent to a medical laboratory for analysis. Following the analysis, which may take a few days, you will be contacted by your GP.
Can I test myself for Corona?
In Germany as well as in other parts of the world, waves of infections of the corona virus "COVID-19" represent a high burden for hospitals, medical staff and the health system in general.
In order to be able to counteract this, you can also take advantage of the option of a self-conducted test as an alternative to a visit to the doctor or hospital.
In this case, too, you need to send your sample to an appropriate laboratory. Depending on the provider, different waiting times can be expected. If you have a little more budget to spare, it is also possible to pay privately for tests carried out in hospitals and doctors' surgeries.
However, since capacities could quickly become tight and more serious suspected cases may not be tested, we strongly advise you against this option if you are symptom-free.
How reliable are self-tests for coronavirus?
Although the range of self-tests for coronavirus is now diverse and promises accurate results, you should view this approach with some caution. In particular, those tests that promise an immediate result may be an inadequate testing tool.
This was found, for example, in a study at the University Hospital in Bonn. The German Federal Ministry of Health has also expressed concerns about this. The danger of an advanced infection in combination with a false positive result can lead to danger for yourself as well as for other people.
Before you decide on a self-test that is offered, you should therefore inform yourself in detail about the corresponding product. Particular caution is required in connection with antibody tests.
Since these are only formed about one to two weeks after a possible infection, no test can provide you with a conclusive result in this regard at an earlier point in time (9)
What medicines can I take to treat coronavirus?
If your symptoms are mild, there is no need for medical treatment. Also, before you think about excessive medication cures, you can consider less strenuous measures. These include:
- Plenty of rest and sleep
- Warming your own body
- Drinking a large amount of fluids
- Use of a humidifier
- Hot showers
Basically, due to the current lack of a vaccine, you can only take symptomatic treatment in case of infection. This means taking antipyretics or cough suppressants. In this context, following the advice of your family doctor is probably the most sensible solution.
However, in order to prevent the pandemic from spreading further and to give those who are ill a better chance of recovery, tests and studies are also being carried out with various existing medicines. In principle, groups of different areas of application are being examined for possible alternative use.
|Group of drugs||typical areas of use||purpose in connection with COVID-19|
|Antiviral drugs||HIV, Ebola, hepatitis C, influenza, SARS, MERS, malaria, other coronaviruses||blocking the multiplication of the viruses as well as the penetration into the lung cells|
|Immunomodulators||Arthritis, intestinal diseases||limiting the patient's own defence response in severe lung infections to prevent additional damage|
|Drugs for lung diseases||pulmonary fibrosis||preventing oxygen deficiency of the blood through the lungs|
Until a vaccine is introduced, testing of a variety of other drugs will probably follow on an ongoing basis. Those drugs that are considered promising in this context are, for example, the pancreatic drug "Camostat"(10), which has been approved in Japan, the Ebola treatment "Remdesivir"(11) and the virus-blocking drug "APN01"(12)
An exact estimate of an availability period is currently difficult to narrow down.
Expert assessments of the availability of a "COVID-19" vaccine differ in many different ways. Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute, shares the opinion of many other experts who consider the use of an effective vaccine to be realistic only in 2021. (14) . The Viennese infectiologist Christoph Wenisch even sees another one to two years in the future(15)
However, there are also more generous forecasts in this regard, such as those from a research team at the University of Bern, which hold out the prospect of a vaccine in autumn 2020. (16)
Due to the many divergent statements in this regard, active monitoring of current events and developments is probably the best option in order to be able to make a valid diagnosis in the long term.
In this context, it should be noted in particular that official directives regarding the restriction of social contacts can bring about an abrupt change. Thanks to a modern procedure of the "Robert Koch Institute", prognoses of developments in this regard can be made thanks to the inclusion of diagnostic, reporting and transmission delays.
In connection with "COVID-19", the type of animal can play a decisive role.
According to studies conducted, infection of "COVID-19" can occur in pets such as cats or even ferrets. However, dog owners as well as owners of pigs, chickens or ducks do not have to assume a risk of infection (17)
In this respect, however, it is probably a one-sided source of danger. According to the results to date until the end of April 2020, a transmission of the coronavirus "COVID-19" from domestic animals to humans is possible with only a very low probability (18)
The new coronavirus "COVID-19" is an infectious disease that you should in no way underestimate. Although there are similarities, this virus is at least as dangerous as seasonal flu due to a lack of information and a vaccine. In order to save resources and reduce the workload of medical staff, a self-administered test may be a sensible alternative.
Although hopeful developments are taking place, you should be aware that not every offer can guarantee its promises. For this reason, detailed research on the disease and previous customer reviews is highly recommended.
Image source: 123rf.com / ismagilov
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Jianzhong Shi,*, Zhiyuan Wen,*, Gongxun Zhong,*, Huanliang Yang,*, Chong Wang,*, Baoying Huang,*, Renqiang Liu, Xijun He, Lei Shuai, Ziruo Sun, Yubo Zhao, Peipei Liu, Libin Liang, Pengfei Cui, Jinliang Wang, Xianfeng Zhang, Yuntao Guan, Wenjie Tan, Guizhen Wu,†, Hualan Chen,†, Zhigao Bu. 2020. State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin 150069, People’s Republic of China.
National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC, Beijing 102206, People’s Republic of China.
National High Containment Laboratory for Animal Diseases Control and Prevention, Harbin 150069, People’s Republic of China.
Corresponding author. Email: [email protected] (Z.B.); [email protected] (H.C.); [email protected] (G.W.)
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