Egyptian Doctor at Johns Hopkins Helps Develop COVID-19 Test Which Could Examine up to 1000 Patients Per Day
With the total number of those affected by the coronavirus rising to almost 200,000 patients, testing for the virus has become one of the more difficult aspects of the pandemic.
Currently, the infrared thermometer, or the ‘temperature gun’, is the most widely used device, but it can only detect fever, which is only a symptom of the disease, and so, it is not a definitive test for the coronavirus.
The other test available, PCR, is conclusive, yet it is both time-consuming and expensive. Healthcare professionals are aware of the fact that we need a more efficient method of testing. Under normal conditions, the PCR test would have been sufficient. However, in the case of a global pandemic, such as the one we are facing right now, the PCR falls short to meet the demand.
Johns Hopkins Baltimore researchers have created their own testing technique to expedite the diagnosis and will be widely available for all people to use. The two doctors behind this innovation, Karen Caroll and Heba Mostafa, hope to test around a 1,000 people per day.
“We didn’t expect this to become a pandemic,” Mostafa said to CBS Baltimore. “And because of that, public health labs won’t be able to handle all the required testing.”
Thousands of people all over the world are left stranded unable to take the PCR test because of the immense pressure on both private and public hospitals. This new technology could put an end to this aspect of the issue.
Dr. Heba Mostafa earned her Doctor of Medicine degree at the Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Egypt in 2004 which was followed by a period of training and residency in clinical pathology in the same university. She then moved to the U.S. where she earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology in 2014 at the University of Kansas.
Right now, Dr. Mostafa is the Assistant Professor of Pathology and Director of the Molecular Virology Section of the Medical Microbiology Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.