Infectolab - COVID-19 testing

COVID-19: How To Monitor, Test & Manage Employees Once Lockdown Ends

The COVID-19 threat isn’t gone from communities, but lockdown measures have significantly slowed the spread of the virus, meaning businesses have begun opening their doors. When employers do start to open up, though, they need to put into place new practices to ensure that both employees and customers remain safe and healthy.

Employers will need to implement new testing measures, such as Infectolab’s COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. The PCR test is designed to confirm whether or not a person has contracted COVID-19, and can help employers limit contact with employees that test positive.

The downfalls of reopening the economy

Many people are anxious for the economy to reopen and for life to go back to normal. But following the spread of COVID-19, a new normal is to be expected so that a second dangerous wave doesn’t hit the communities that have fought so hard to slow the spread. If businesses begin to open prior to proper testing being available, it could spell a whole new level of disaster.

Certain parts of the world have been at a standstill and businesses have been forced to lay off thousands of employees. Some have even been forced to close their doors for good because of the direct hit their books have taken due to the widespread closures. This makes it even more important for businesses to ensure the proper procedures are taking place, because if another lockdown is needed, they may be forced to shut down all over again.

Infectolab - serology testing
Image by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash: Serology testing is accurate in the long run, but is best in combination with a PCR test as a way for employers to test for live infection.

The faults in COVID-19 testing

There are many obstacles involved in creating accurate testing procedures for COVID-19. Aside from numbers being affected by late testing or no testing of those who are infected but remain asymptomatic, the challenges many organizations and medical centers face is the level of accuracy of tests. Some tests are more accurate than others, but involve longer wait times for results and are often more expensive.

Serology testing, for example, is more accurate in finding out whether or not a person had the virus at some time in the past, as opposed to whether or not they are currently infected. A serology test detects antibodies created in response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This means that a person can be recovered from the virus and still test positive for its antibodies.

This type of test won’t be the first line of defense for managers, though, because it takes too long to return results and doesn’t detect active infections quickly enough.  

Will employee antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus be available?

There are several types of tests used to confirm a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. The PCR test mentioned above looks for the RNA of the virus itself, and is most effective a few days following the onset of symptoms. The antibody test is designed to look for antibodies following the onset of symptoms and the infection. These tests are more generally used to gather data on numbers within communities, and not typically used to diagnose a current viral infection.

An antigen test also won’t be used as a first line of defense, because it is not as accurate as the PCR test. Instead, it will be used as a preemptive way to know if a person needs a PCR test. An antigen test does produce quick results, but is not as reliable as a PCR test, thus it acts as a screen rather than a definitive diagnosis.  

Testing employees for COVID-19 when lockdown measures have eased

Working from home has been encouraged for whichever businesses can do so, but for many, it’s just not a feasible option. So when the lockdown measures begin to ease and businesses begin to open, employers will need a surefire way to slow the spread by testing employees as they return to work and if they start to show symptoms.

PCR testing will be available for employers so they can ensure that no one slips through the cracks, and that their businesses and employees stay safe and healthy while the economy readjusts to these new times. Employers will need to ensure rigorous testing for employees is done on a regular basis, and as quickly as possible whenever a case is suspected.

Infectolab - mask
Image by Hanson Lu on Unsplash: Social distancing measures will still need to take place as businesses begin reopening their doors.

How to manage employees during coronavirus restrictions and reopenings

Getting the right tests for employees is the first step for managers and business owners in reopening their doors the safest way possible. The new PCR and serology monitoring tests designed by Infectolab will be a great way to help monitor all employees who may have come into contact with the virus or are presenting with symptoms.

Working together with employees, managers, and the public will help to keep the economy opening, while also keeping cases of SARS-CoV-2 down.

Featured image by CDC on Unsplash

Infectolab - coxsackie virus

What Are The Symptoms Of Coxsackie Virus?

There are many different types of viruses circling the globe at any given time. A virus is categorized as a microscopic parasite that, when it attaches to or gets into a host, can wreak havoc on the host’s body and cause ailments ranging from mild to severe, and sometimes even death.

Viruses are broken up into groups using the Baltimore classification method, which categorizes the them depending on their morphology, genetics, and how the mRNA is made during replication. The Coxsackie virus is classified into a group of viruses called the enterovirus. So what is Coxsackie virus, exactly? And what are the symptoms of Coxsackie virus?

What is Coxsackie virus?

The Coxsackie virus is an RNA virus that leads to the disease of the lungs, heart, and muscles in severe cases, and can also lead to hand, foot, and mouth disease. It is generally found in children and tends to be a brief and mild virus, meaning that it rarely requires heavy treatment due to its self-limitation.

The virus contains only one strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA), and is part of the picornavirus family because of its small size. The virus was first documented in the late 1940s in Coxsackie, New York, and the virus itself is split up into two groups: A and B.

The A group tends to be the more severe version of the virus, while the B group tends to stay mild. Coxsackie virus is contagious, although it is mainly transmitted through fecal-oral contact, making the risk of contagion fairly low in places with good sanitary practices.

What are the symptoms of Coxsackie virus?

The main symptoms of Coxsackie virus are:

  • fever (similar to many other viruses)
  • lowered appetite
  • sore throat and cough
  • respiratory distress
  • a general feeling of tiredness.

These main symptoms often occur shortly after the virus is transmitted, specifically no more than a few days, and are generally followed by blisters in the mouth. These symptoms can then turn into a painful and itchy rash on the palms of the hands and bottom of the feet as the virus progresses.

When the Coxsackie virus gets into the body, it attaches itself to host cells, breaking them open. This destruction of the cells leads to an imbalance in osmosis. When this occurs, the proteins and DNA in the cells are then left out in the open. This causes the body’s immune system to respond to the threat, creating a chain reaction on a cellular level. When the immune system goes into overdrive, it sends out attacker cells to help rid the body of the virus, which has a detrimental impact on the body as a whole.

Infectolab - fever
Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash: How do you test for Coxsackie virus, and what symptoms do doctors look for?

How do you test for Coxsackie virus?

Testing for Coxsackie virus can be hard thing to do, but the most widely used method in diagnosing a Coxsackie infection is visual examination. A doctor will examine the patient’s sores, blisters, and rash to determine whether they indicate Coxsackie virus.

This method, although useful, isn’t always the most effective way to test for the virus, especially if it spreads through a community. When such spread occurs, viral tests such as Infectolab’s ELISA test can be administered.

The ELISA test is an FDA-cleared test that is designed to look for certain viruses within the sample. These tests are far more accurate than visual examinations, as they can single out the virus in the infected patient even after they’ve rid themselves of the virus and its symptoms. Since most cases of Coxsackie clear up on their own, it can be hard to determine if someone has had the infection or is carrying the infection by visual exam alone.  

What is the treatment for Coxsackie virus?

As mentioned above, Coxsackie virus tends to be mild and clears up on its own by the tenth day. Treatment for the symptoms of the virus often come in over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, which dulls any pain that goes along with the blisters and sores and helps to reduce the fever that is brought on by the virus.

For the rash and blisters, some allergy medications such as Benadryl can be used to help curb discomfort, and mouthwash or oral disinfectant sprays can help to ease the pain of ulcers in the mouth.

Since there is no formal treatment or vaccine for Coxsackie virus available, the only way to treat it is to wait it out and deal with the symptoms that cause discomfort during infection. In the most serious of cases, antivirals may be used to lessen the risk of cognitive or heart symptoms.

Infectolab - child
Image by Caleb Woods on Unsplash: Does Coxsackie make you hungry? Studies show it can actually do the opposite.

Does Coxsackie make you tired?

Often accompanied by the other more visible symptoms, a general feeling of tiredness may be experienced during a Coxsackie virus infection. This is likely caused by the body’s immune response and the battle going on a cellular level.

Other less common symptoms of the virus include:

  • dehydration
  • nausea (often paired with problems with appetite, or a complete loss of appetite)
  • abdominal pain and discomfort
  • muscle aches

These less common symptoms are treated in the same way as the other symptoms: with over-the-counter medications to help ease symptoms so the body can fight off the infection on its own.

Featured image by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Infectolab - coxsackie virus

How Do You Test For Coxsackie Virus?

Of the many viruses found in humans, some have mild to moderate symptoms that go away on their own over time, while others require serious treatment to help rid the body of pathogens and get patients back to their optimal level of health.

Some viruses, including the coxsackie virus, can fall into both categories – one version of the illness can require treatment, while the other can often go away on its own. The virus itself is generally found in children under the age of 10, but it has been known to infect younger adults as well.

What is coxsackie virus?

The coxsackie viruses are RNA viruses. Often called enteroviruses, they are made up of only one strand of RNA (ribonucleic acid). The viruses that are part of the coxsackie family can lead to hand, foot, and mouth disease, as well as other conditions that affect the lungs, heart, and muscles.  

There are two very distinct types of coxsackie virus: type A and type B. Type A is the coxsackie virus that leads to hand, foot, and mouth disease. In the majority of cases, a Type A coxsackie virus clears up on its own in a matter of days to weeks, but the virus itself can be shed for weeks following the initial infection. A Type B coxsackie virus can lead to epidemic pleurodynia (a febrile disorder) and often resolves itself within 2–12 days of initial infection. Both types of coxsackie virus are highly contagious and can be shed through fecal matter even after the virus has cleared up in the patient.

What are the symptoms of coxsackie virus?

The virus was first recorded in the mid-1900s by scientist Gilbert Dalldorf when he was trying to discover a cure for another ailment. This led to the discovery that coxsackie was able to mimic mild cases of polio. Following this, Dalldorf learned that coxsackie viruses could cause a variety of different illnesses.

The symptoms of coxsackie virus vary depending on the type and typically appear within three to six days of the initial infection. In those with Type A coxsackie, symptoms include sores in the throat, otherwise known as herpangina. It can also lead to sores and lesions in the mouth, on the palms of the hands, and on the soles of the feet. Type B symptoms include fever, headache, and abdominal and chest spasms, although a fever is usually the first symptom to appear. In both types A and B, more serious complications can arise in those who have a subtype of the virus. These conditions include meningitis, myocarditis, and pericarditis, but it is rare for these to develop.

Infectolab - skin lesions
Image by Hans on Pixabay: A rash or skin lesions on the hands or feet is one of the main symptoms of coxsackie virus.

How do you test for coxsackie virus?

Generally speaking, diagnosis of coxsackie virus occurs by a physical exam performed by a doctor when a blister-like rash is present on the hands, feet, and mouth. This method of diagnosis saves money on tests in the long run because doctors believe that if the rashes are present, then the ailment is easy to spot. There are, however, viral tests that can be done if the infection cannot be confirmed through physical exam alone.

To get a definitive diagnosis for coxsackie virus, rectal swabs or stool samples will be taken and isolated in a cell culture. This is to ensure the virus is present in a patient who may not be exhibiting typical symptoms. Doctors will also check for specific antibodies in patients who may have recovered from the illness prior to testing. In those who develop serious complications, testing for bacterial meningitis is crucial so that the appropriate treatment can be administered.

A new ELISpot test being developed by Infectolab is changing the way coxsackie virus can be diagnosed. The test takes into account T-cell production to help doctors get a more definitive picture of whether the infection is present in the body. The new test will help to eliminate any holes in testing, which in turn will lead to more accurate diagnosis of the virus in patients.

How do you treat coxsackie virus?

Treatment for coxsackie virus is tricky because there is no specific medication designed to combat it. Because it is a viral infection, antibiotics cannot be used during a treatment course as they will have no effect on the virus itself.

It is usually recommended that parents of children with coxsackie virus (as well as young adults who become infected) focus on treating the viral symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, and rash. This can be done using over-the-counter anti-inflammatories as well as medications designed to bring temperature down. Because many cases of coxsackie virus are mild in nature, treatment of any kind may not be required, and the infection should clear up on its own within a couple of weeks.

In the case of serious complications, though, treatment may differ. If the coxsackie infection leads to meningitis, for example, hospitalization may be necessary, with treatment in the form of intravenous medications such as antibiotics and sometimes corticosteroids.

Infectolab - hand foot mouth disease
Image by Mohamed Hassan on Pixabay: Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by the coxsackie virus.

Is coxsackie the same as “hand foot mouth”?

The name “hand, foot, and mouth disease” comes from the places lesions appear on the body when someone is infected with the coxsackie virus. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by the presence of the coxsackie virus in the body. 

As mentioned above, in children the disease presents as sores and lesions in the mouth, throat, feet, and hands. Adults who contract the virus may appear asymptomatic while infected. This can lead to undiagnosed cases, meaning they can also pass it on without ever realizing they have contracted the disease.

Featured image by CDC on Unsplash