A new pandemic coronavirus causing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), initially called 2019-nCoV and successively named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The COVID-19 refers to the disease while the SARS-CoV-2 refers to the virus and is characterized by a rapid contagious capacity able to spread worldwide in a very short time. The rise in the number of infected patients and deaths is of great concern especially because symptoms are vague and similar to other forms of flu infection and corona syndrome infections characterized by fever, fatigue, dry cough, and dyspnea. According to the latest guidelines published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the diagnosis of COVID-19 must be confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) or gene sequencing of specimen obtained from throat, sputum and blood samples. However, the limitations due to logistics, as well as low sensitivity and specificity diagnostic tools currently available have been reported as the main cause of high incidence of either false-negative or positive results.
The purpose of the present translational research protocol is to discuss and present the original findings from our research team on new diagnostic technique to detect four Coronaviridae family members (SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, HCoV and MERS-CoV), highlighting the methodology, the procedure and the possible advantages. Moreover, the authors review the current epidemiology, precautions and safety measures for health personnel to manage patients with known or suspected COVID-19 infection.
Implementation of an effective and rapid plan of diagnosing, screening and checking is a key factor to reduce and prevent further transmission. This procedure based on rRT-PCR could be of great help to decisively validate the results obtained from more conventional diagnostic procedures such as chest computed tomography (CT) imaging and chest ultrasound.
This translational diagnostic tool will assist emergency and primary care clinicians, as well as out-of-hospital providers, in effectively managing people with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2.