This method is already well known to the medical world and was first discovered and developed by a scientist named Kary Mullis since 1983. In addition to identifying viruses and bacteria, it has also been widely used in forensics. How does this test work? How can we identify someone was infected with COVID-19 using this technique?
Basically, this technique is capable of making millions of copies of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). DNA stores the genetic information of an organism including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Through this process, the original copy of the DNA is multiplied and translated into comprehensible data. Information about the virus will be stored in and used to compare with the new genetic code of infection. This information simplifies and speeds up the process of identifying the types of pathogens that infect a person.
In the case of COVID-19 infection, the virus infects a person through the human respiratory tract and samples from this area. For instance:
- Specimens from the upper respiratory tract: Samples were obtained from the nasal cavity or medically known as nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal.
- Specimens from the lower respiratory tract: The lower respiratory tract includes the lungs and bronchiole. Therefore the patient's sputum sample is used. Sometimes, lung tissue was extracted as the sample.
Once this sample is taken, it will be sent to the laboratory as soon as possible and stored at 4 degrees celsius. The sample will then be sent to the Institute for Medical Research or another specialized laboratory.