Imaging Equipment Playing Key Role In Battling Covid-19

It seems the Coronavirus continues to spread across the world, impacting everything from daily life to the global economy. In these challenging times, the healthcare sector plays a particularly important role. In addition to protective clothing, respiratory masks and respirators, the ability to test rapidly and accurately is vital. However, rapid testing demands the availability of various laboratory analysers. Meeting the demand for analytical instruments requires that manufacturers continue production, to ensure the continuous supply of critical components across the world.

How to fight the virus?
Researchers around the globe are striving to develop an effective vaccine against the Coronavirus, but this still requires time. To combat the further spread of the coronavirus efficiently, immediate detection of the virus is of crucial importance. The aim is to reduce the chain of infection and thus the infection rate. But to identify who is and who is not infected requires that as many tests as possible are performed. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), famously said during a press conference in March: ‘Test, test, test’.

Rapid tests and test analyzers
To test thousands of people, thousands of rapid tests are required, which in turn calls for great numbers of analytical devices for their evaluation. One common analysis method of these devices is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This method is widely used in molecular biology to multiply the patient’s DNA.

How does the PCR test work?
First, a smear is taken from the patient’s mouth, nose or throat. This sample is then sent to a laboratory. Each virus can be identified by a specific characteristic section of its genetic material. However, the quantity of the genetic material from the smear must be multiplied in order for there to be sufficient material to determine whether the pathogen is present or not. For this purpose, so-called thermocyclers are used, which initiate the polymerase chain reaction. In 30 to 50 cycles, the DNA is amplified exponentially.

If the pathogen is present in the sample, its genetic material will multiply and will be detected. If there is no genome of the pathogen, it will not go through the multiplication process and therefore not be detected. Using a fluorescence dye, the amplification of the pathogen genome can be monitored in real time. This is called real-time PCR.

It usually takes several days before the patient receives the test result. To send the sample to the laboratory takes the longest time, the test itself takes up to five hours.

Medical imaging as a further diagnostic tool
Severe cases of Covid-19 are associated with pneumonia, which can lead to changes in lung tissue. As a further diagnostic tool of coronavirus, medical imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and conventional radiography of the thorax are used. Changes of lung tissue are visible in the images obtained through these methods. In some cases, the pneumonia associated changes of lung tissue are already visible despite the test results of PCR being negative. With computed tomography or thorax x-rays, the severity of the disease can be assessed and the clinical indication in severe cases monitored.

Compared to PCR, an advantage of medical imaging is that the results are available immediately. On the other hand, ionising radiation is used in CT and X-Ray, so the health benefit for the patient must outweigh the radiation risk.

Subway Trains and Buses in NYC Disinfected by UVC to Fight against Coronavirus Infection

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City is using UV lamps to sanitize subway cars and buses for COVID-19 infection prevention, reported New York Daily News.

MTA announced that it will close the subway system from one to five a.m. every day since May 6, 2020 to deep clean and disinfect all the trains and buses to combat coronavirus. One of its disinfecting solution is using UV lamps to deliver UVC radiation for diminishing bacteria, viruses and other pathogens in the cars.

The disinfection project applying UV lamps was supported by MTA’s partnership with Columbia University. The UV lights will be tested on part of the subway trains and buses since May 11, 2020. The project would be expanded if researchers at Columbia University confirm the effectiveness afterward.

David Brenner, director of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research, noted that his research team is working on “far UVC” technology which can wipe out COVID-19 without causing harm to human body. Compared to the commonly known germicidal UV light with wavelength between 250nm to 280nm, far UVC light has shorter wavelength with the range of 205 to 230 nm and cannot reach or damage living human cells but can still kill viruses in the air or on surfaces.

Brenner said far-UVC light could be a game changer in the fight against COVID-19 as “it can be safely used in occupied public spaces, and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in.”

Coronavirus ‘Light It Blue’ Campaign Gives Thanks To Essential Workers

Hundreds of businesses and venues nationwide express gratitude to the front liners

Last Thursday was the #Light It Blue campaign as communities across the country, and even the world, spotlighted historic buildings, major sports stadiums and event venues, national landmarks and even Niagara Falls in blue lighting as a show of gratitude for health care professionals, first responders and essential workers caring for people on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The #LightItBlue and #MakeItBlue movement began in the United Kingdom as major landmarks were lighted throughout the country in salute to health care providers. When introduced in the United States, support for the concept was impressive. The NFL joined the party. Mayors jumped on board. Major corporations lighted their headquarters.

Estimates are that more than 100 sites in New York City, home to the highest numbers of the coronavirus patients, and more than 400 other sites across America turned on the lights at 8 pm local time last Thursday. This age of LED lighting made the effort all the more dramatic.

“We hope it just creates this giant hug for all the health care workers and essential workers,” Michael Fiur, one of the Light It Blue campaign’s organizers and an internationally renowned entertainment producer, told CBS New York.

To name just a few prominent spots which embraced the group hug, let’s salute Arlington’s Globe Life Field, new home of the Texas Rangers whenever Major League Baseball resumes in its regular stadiums; Houston’s City Hall and all its major sports stadiums; Dallas’ Reunion Tower and Omni Hotel. And those are just some of the stunning shots corralled from Instagram.

Take a closer look at this new wave of blue, a symbol of heartfelt appreciation and thanks, that extended across the country to include Seattle’s Space Needle, Walt Disney World, Niagara Falls and more:

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