The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge damage to society and brought panic around the world. Such panic can be ascribed to the seemingly deceptive features of COVID-19: Compared to other deadly viral outbreaks, it has medium transmission and mortality rates. As a result, the severity of the causative coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was deeply underestimated by society at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Based on this, in this review, we define the viruses with features similar to those of SARS-CoV-2 as the Panic Zone viruses. To contain those viruses, accurate and fast diagnosis followed by effective isolation and treatment of patients are pivotal at the early stage of virus breakouts. This is especially true when there is no cure or vaccine available for a transmissible disease, which is the case for the current COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 2020, more than 100 kits for COVID-19 diagnosis on the market have been surveyed in this review, while emerging sensing techniques for SARS-CoV-2 are also discussed. It is of critical importance to rationally use these kits for efficient management and control of the Panic Zone viruses. Therefore, we discuss guidelines to select diagnostic kits at different outbreak stages of the Panic Zone viruses, SARS-CoV-2 in particular. While it is of utmost importance to use nucleic acid based detection kits with low false negativity (high sensitivity) at the early stage of an outbreak, the low false positivity (high specificity) gains importance at later stages of the outbreak. When society is set to reopen from the lockdown stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes critical to have immunoassay based kits with high specificity to identify people who can safely return to society after their recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infections. Finally, since a massive attack from a viral pandemic requires a massive defense from the whole society, we urge both government and the private sector to research and develop affordable and reliable point-of-care testing (POCT) kits, which can be used massively by the general public (and therefore called massive POCT) to contain Panic Zone viruses in the future.
Link to published version included, and author's accepted version included here.
Pokhrel, P., Hu, C., & Mao, H. (2020). Detecting the Coronavirus (COVID-19). ACS sensors. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.0c01153
Pokhrel, Pravin, Changpeng Hu, and Hanbin Mao. 2020. “Detecting the Coronavirus (COVID-19)”. ACS sensors. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.0c01153.
Pokhrel, P., C. Hu, and H. Mao. Detecting the Coronavirus (COVID-19). ACS sensors, 5 July 2020, doi:https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.0c01153.