There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, but what we do know is that COVID-19 can lead to sepsis1. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health emergency, calling it an “unprecedented outbreak.” Millions of people have been diagnosed, and many remain in critical condition suffering from acute respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction and failure. These patients are treated in the ICU, where they are exposed to countless risk factors that can lead to secondary infections or co-infections, including exposure to numerous antimicrobial therapies, which are often unnecessary. T2 Biosystems’ diagnostic panels enable clinicians to identify sepsis-causing pathogens in 3 to 5 hours and provide targeted therapy faster, thus reducing unnecessary exposure to the virus and optimizing outcomes for COVID-19 patients with secondary bacterial or fungal infections, or co-infections.
T2 Biosystems Response to COVID-19
We have entered into a worldwide licensing agreement for a rapid COVID-19, novel coronavirus test developed by the Center of Discovery and Innovation at Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network. The licensed coronavirus assay has been used by healthcare professionals within the Hackensack Meridian Health network, under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization guidance, to test and treat patients suspected of having coronavirus.
Under terms of the license agreement, T2 Biosystems will have the right to adapt the coronavirus test to run the T2Dx® Instrument, the same instrument used for the FDA-cleared T2Bacteria® and T2Candida® Panels. Hackensack Meridian Health will also adopt the T2Dx® Instrument and test panels within its Center of Discovery and Innovation. Product development is currently underway, and we look forward to providing updates on our progress when appropriate and available.
“This agreement combines our FDA-cleared T2Dx platform with our joint scientific expertise to benefit patients at risk for both primary coronavirus infections, as well as associated secondary infections that may lead to sepsis. Data from prior flu pandemics indicated bacterial co-infection rates as high as 29%, and sepsis rates above 30% among patients admitted to hospital intensive care units. The ability to detect coronavirus and associated secondary bacterial or fungal infections that may lead to sepsis, without the need to wait days for a diagnostic result, allows clinicians to achieve targeted therapy faster, and can lead to reduced length of stay in the intensive care unit, freeing up beds for incoming patients.” – John Sperzel, President and Chief Executive Officer of T2 Biosystems.
Background on COVID-19
There are a variety of human coronaviruses, some of which can cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recent coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, is responsible for COVID-19.
The symptoms of COVID-19 can vary greatly, but many of those infected will experience fever, tiredness, and dry coughs. Other symptoms include aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea, while some people do not develop any symptoms at all. Around 80% of people recover from the disease without requiring special treatment, but 1 out of every 6 people that are infected with COVID-19, develop difficulty in breathing and become very ill.2
Currently, there is no available vaccine or specific antiviral therapy to prevent or treat COVID-19, but there are some treatments that are being tested in clinical trials.
How COVID-19 is Transmitted
The virus is most likely to spread when people are in close contact with one another. COVID-19 spreads when its causative virus is passed from person to person, usually through respiratory droplets that occur when someone that is infected coughs or sneezes. When a person is nearby, when this happens, the droplets may be inhaled into the lungs.3 Although a person may contract the virus from touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their face, it is not thought to be the primary method of transmission.
How to Protect Yourself
The most effective way to prevent yourself from getting the virus is to avoid being exposed to it, but there are also other methods that the CDC recommends to reduce your risk.4
Hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going out in public. If you need to use hand sanitizer instead of soap, make sure that it contains at least 60% alcohol and cover all surfaces of your hands until they are dry.
Social Distancing: Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick and stay at home as much as you can. If you are out in public, keep your distance from people.
Face Covering: Cover your nose and mouth with a face covering when you are around others. It is possible to spread COVID-19 even if you don’t feel sick; the mask is to protect other people in case you are infected, in addition to protecting yourself. Note: a face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.
Sneeze/Cough Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow, be sure to throw away any used tissues and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Keep Surfaces Clean: Clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces every day (tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, desks, and phones). For more information on cleaning and disinfecting for households, read the CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Households Guide.
Please contact us for questions related to COVID-19 testing.