It is time to act, and Futureco Bioscience, in line with the “Instructions for diagnostic tests for the detection of COVID-19 in companies” published by the Spanish Ministry within the framework of the Plan for the transition to a new normality, has already begun to carry out PCR tests for the detection of Covid-19 on all workers who voluntarily wish to do so.
This measure aims at the early detection of any case that may have an active infection and that may therefore transmit the disease. This measure, in fact, will help to cut the possible chain of transmission of the virus between workers and their contacts in the event of a hypothetical positive case, and guarantees a safer return to the offices.
Futureco Bioscience’s laboratories and research staff have always been at the core of the company’s prerogative of excellence and today, once again, we are proud of them by putting our team, knowledge and experience at the service of our employees. All employees and their families will be able to undergo the test voluntarily and free of charge, which will allow them to know if they are infected within a few hours.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a technique that was invented by the biochemist Kary Mullis in 1985, and which earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1993. Today it is a standard laboratory technique, used daily in our facilities and for a large number of samples, which allows small fragments of DNA to be amplified, i.e. a small segment of DNA that would go unnoticed in any analysis is multiplied millions of times and is thus easy to detect.
Nevertheless, how does it work if PCR only works on DNA, and the COVID-19 virus uses RNA (similar to DNA, but with a single strand) as its genetic code? Fortunately, we know of enzymes that can convert RNA into DNA. The viral RNA is isolated and collected using a technique that allows us to ‘fish’ out the viral fragments using a molecule that acts as a flocculant. This allows the viral RNA to be dragged and easily isolated from the rest of the biological material present in the sample (polysaccharides, proteins and DNA). Once obtained, the RNA is mixed with other ingredients: enzymes, DNA building blocks, cofactors, probes and initiators that recognize and bind SARS-CoV-2 (if present). The viral RNA becomes a copy of the DNA, and that single copy is “amplified” by PCR. At the end of the process, millions of copies of about 150 nucleotides are obtained from a region of the virus. The detection of this amplified viral DNA is done by fluorescence thanks to a specific probe incorporated in the reaction.
Used since the beginning of the epidemic for the detection of patients with COVID-19, PCR is a test that has certain advantages:
- It has a high specificity, since it can differentiate between two microorganisms that are very close in evolution.
- It has a high sensitivity, since it can detect amounts of 20 copies/ml, or even less, of viral genetic material.
- And it is early because it detects viruses in the early stages of respiratory infection.
Finally, with this measure, Futureco Bioscience wants to promise its employees a serene and healthy return to the offices, once again contributing to society and to the value of the company.