UAB developing its own COVID-19 test

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 10:41 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There have only been about 20 people tested for COVID-19 in Alabama. While, UAB says they want to test more down the line, they say people should consider their immune systems when making plans for spring break.

UAB saying today the incubation period for COVID-19 is five days and that it’s possible for you to feel just fine up until that fifth day.

“There is some new data that maybe people can transmit the virus before the symptoms start and that’s a big concern for us. Most of the studies are showing transmission is happening from symptomatic people," says UAB Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases Dr. Jodi Dionne-Odom.

If you do have symptoms, they say call you doctor and your doctor should be the one to order the test. Right now, they’re prioritizing those who are tested.

“Either known exposure to a case, known travel to an area where there’s coronavirus, or someone who is sick with typical flu-like symptoms.”

Typical turnaround for tests is a couple of days. That’s why UAB is hoping to speed things up.

“Our labs are developing an in-house, PCR-based test. It’s not up and going yet but the team is working hard on that.”

Based on what they’ve seen, they estimate 80% of people who get the virus will have mild symptoms, 15% will need a quick hospital visit and 5% will need ICU-level care. They’re positive they’ll be ready for those cases.

"There are teams of people in infection control, in the emergency room, in the surgical suite who plan for events like this. This team is meeting regularly, and they know each other very well at this point and they are changing the plans every 12-24 hours based on new data that’s coming in.”

They say this is heavily affecting the elderly-over 60 with medical conditions, so if you live with someone of that description, it’s important to stay well so as not to infect them. It affects children as well, though the fatality rate among children is low.

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