As the cases of 2019 novel coronavirus continue to grow, the public health response is ramping up. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state public health departments are coordinating the clinical testing of possible cases.
The lab of Dr. Alex Greninger, in the virology division of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is studying the latest genomic information about this emerging virus, and its possible implications for the clinical virology laboratory.
"We can ramp this up relatively quickly in sort of weeks to about a month," Greninger says. "We’re ready for these things all the time. In the past few years we've seen this for enterovirus D68 and Zika virus."
The CDC and local and state public health departments will continue to conduct the diagnostic laboratory testing required to confirm or rule out the infection in suspected cases.
To prevent the spread of any type of respiratory virus, including coronaviruses, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, cover your cough or sneeze, keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes, avoid close contact with people who are ill, and stay home when you're sick. Pay attention to travelers' precautions. You can also wear a surgical mask. If you are experiencing symptoms and are concerned that you might have been exposed, reach out first to your care provider over the phone.