Imaging Interactions

Testing, testing...

In December 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified for the first time in Wuhan, China. In January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 25 November 2020, more than 59.8 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 1.41 million deaths attributed to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

COVID-19 primarily spreads by means of saliva and other bodily fluids and secretions. These fluids can form small droplets and aerosols, which can spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. The virus can also spread via direct contact and fomites (inanimate objects that can transfer the virus to a new host). Infection mainly happens when people are near each other long enough and can spread as early as two days before infected persons show symptoms (presymptomatic), and from asymptomatic individuals. People remain infectious for up to ten days in moderate cases, and two weeks in severe cases.

Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The incubation period is typically around five days but may range from one to 14 days. There are several vaccine candidates in development, although at the time of writing none has completed clinical trials. Although work is underway to develop drugs that inhibit the virus, the primary treatment is currently symptomatic.

Preventive measures include social distancing, wearing a face mask in public, ventilation and air-filtering, hand washing, covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing, disinfecting surfaces, and monitoring and self-isolation for people who are exposed or symptomatic. Authorities worldwide have responded by implementing travel restrictions, lockdowns, workplace hazard controls, and facility closures. Many places have also worked to increase testing capacity and trace contacts of the infected. From the above, it is clear that both the development and deployment of a vaccine and testing the world population is imperative to halt the global social and economic disruption caused by this virus. SPR technology, especially multiplex SPR, is an invaluable tool for both testing of vaccine efficacy and population screening. Here, SPR applications are outlined that may assist researchers worldwide in their efforts.

In this “SPR in times of corona” blog, we are going to zoom in and elaborate on applying multiplex SPR technology in vaccine research, development and testing efforts. Stay tuned for more posts!

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