Testing will be a key factor in how quickly Florida raises the curtain on a more customary lifestyle. “We need to expand testing beyond what we’ve already done,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday in outlining Phase 1 of the reopening plan. In mid-January, there was no test on these shores for COVID-19. Now more than 50 manufacturers have kits in the marketplace. “To develop a test for a given disease sometimes takes years,” said Dr. Michael Lauzardo, deputy director of the University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute. “This is being done in weeks.”
The original: First developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January, the test involves inserting a 6-inch-long swab deep into a patient’s nostril and rotating it. The coronavirus is most reliably found in the nasopharynx, a cavity that sits just above the throat. Lab testing extracts viral genetic information from the swab and compares it to the COVID-19 sequence. Even with recent advances, it’s still the primary method of learning whether someone is actively carrying the coronavirus. Last week, the FDA authorized the first home-kit swab test.