John Hewitt in Inference Review:
In this essay I present a critical analysis of the currently available options for combating the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19. As in any pandemic disease, meeting the challenge is a matter of getting a test.
Fortunately, the word is out now on what is needed for rapid, locally conducted, unequivocal, and early-stage detection of coronavirus infection. The test is RT-qPCR, the reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction, also denoted as real time or rRT-PCR.1 After considerable delay, hospitals in the West are now slowly beginning to acquire the instruments, reagents, and expertise for in-house testing. Devices like Cepheid’s new GeneXpert Systems, which can give results in less than 45 minutes, represent the current state of the art.2 Cepheid, and other companies including Mammoth and Sherlock Biosciences, are now poised to ship a new generation of even more accurate tests that take advantage of the high sensitivity of CRISPR–Cas editing. These tests employ loop-mediated amplification, a simplified technique that uses various primers similar to PCR but does not require the extensive thermal cycling for nucleic acid amplification.3
For those with full-blown coronavirus, the most important medicine is oxygen.