Coronaviruses are a group of RNA viruses that belong to the Coronaviridae family. This family is divided into four genera, among which are the Betacoronaviruses, the genus to which SARS-CoV-2, the causal agent of COVID-19, belongs.

Betacoronaviruses only infect mammals and are normally responsible for mild upper respiratory tract infections in humans and gastroenteritis in animals. In the case of infections caused by SARS-CoV-2, highly variable effects have been observed, which are due to multiple factors that are still under investigation.

SARS-CoV-2 is approximately 50 to 200 nm in diameter, and its genome is single-stranded positive-sense RNA, which is around thirty thousand nucleotides long. The SARS-CoV-2 genome has four genes for the structural proteins characteristic of coronaviruses that are designated with the letters S, E, M and N, in addition, it has the ORF genes that encode non-structural proteins such as enzymes that act during their reproductive cycle of the virus.

Because SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, its detection and identification is carried out using a molecular technique called real-time RT-PCR, which allows the virus’s RNA to be transformed into DNA through a reverse transcription process. Subsequently, the DNA obtained enters the amplification process by means of real-time PCR. As new copies of viral DNA are made, the markers attach to the DNA strands and emit a fluorescence that is captured and measured by a computer with specific software. When the fluorescence exceeds a certain level, the presence of the virus is confirmed.

Initially, the markers designed for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 were directed at the N gene. Subsequently, new diagnostic protocols were developed, which in addition to targeting the N gene, also target other genes, such as E, S or RdRp, with the aim of increasing sensitivity and specificity, as well as avoiding false negative results, due to the appearance of mutations.

Real-time RT-PCR is the most accurate technique to detect the coronavirus. It is very sensitive and precise, offering a reliable diagnosis in just three hours.

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IBEROGEN ESTUDIOS AMBIENTALES SL has been a beneficiary of the European Regional Development Fund whose objective is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs and thanks to which it has launched an International Digital Marketing Plan with the aim of improving its online positioning in foreign markets during the year 2021. For this, it has had the support of the XPANDE DIGITAL Program of the Chamber of Commerce of the Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation of Alicante.