The PCR-based test basically take the RNA of the virus converts it to DNA and then doubles the amount of DNA every heating cycle. Assuming we are talking about real-time PCR the PCR cycle of double is what takes time.
I have not seen the data on the incubation period and the immune response, to know if these immune detection tests will be able to provide early detection for asymptomatic case . It's probably for symptomatic cases and wanted to ensure it's not flu or another infection and it's COVID-19. This is not to say the test is useless. It actually great inexpensive way of testing the population with symptoms and using more expensive and timely test for early detection. Reducing the overall burden.
worth mentioning are other initiatives that are focusing on cheaper and faster PCR process (though with potential of higher false negative and positive results) 
An ELISA works differently. In this case you would present a part of the viral protein, the patient's antibodies will bind to it, and you then use another antibody (this one is conjugated to some sort of readout method, fluorescent or biochemical) which binds to generic human antibody. Now you have a stack: viral protein <> patient antibody <> readout antibody. You read out the signal provided by your readout, usually some sort of colorimetric thing (see home pregnancy tests, also an ELISA, slightly different configuration though). This works fast, can be manufactured in bulk, BUT requires do you have a protein(s) (in this case the viral protein) that is/are universally recognized by patient antibodies. It's a little trickier to develop. You also need to produce that protein at scale which can take a little time as well. Major benefit: with a good ELISA you WILL see not only whether someone IS infected but whether someone WAS infected for some period after illness regardless of symptoms. This is essentially the only way you'll get a really good number for baseline infection rate. That said, you likely actually need a blood draw.
In short, we need both, we probably could do a lot better than we are doing with qPCR in testing volumes and we could also really use an ELISA.
Source: PhD biochemist, have personally run these assays in various forms.
EDIT: Acronym expansion, source
Direct detection of viral particles is substantially harder because for N viral particles you basically get O(N) signal (to put it in CS terms). There are some caveats, your readout antibody can generate an exponential signal for example.
You still need to be presenting the right part of the capsid and have the right material. In the direct ELISA scenario, you need 2 antibodies. One to bind the capsid to your surface, the other to bind it again and either have a readout attached directly or be bound by yet another antibody with the readout (likely the latter). Fortunately, viral capsids are repetitive so you might be able to use the same antibody for both. You ALSO need those antibodies to have low cross-reactivity with sputum or whatever other rough sample you have. When you are looking for a patient's antibodies, the patient's immune system has already taken care of that for you. This is all tricky, obviously it's not THAT hard, but it's not trivial.
RT-qPCR is directly a O(2^N) signal. It's extremely sensitive, requires very little assay development, can be made very specific, can work with little sample prep, so it's a much better front-line, first-to-go test than direct ELISA. Still, we'd all love an ELISA, particularly to patient antibodies.
The signal is actually more like N*2^C where C is the number of cycles (usually around 30). So a huge amplification, but still linear in the starting amount, i.e. O(N). That's actually more useful, generally, since ratios of amplified material stay approximately constant during amplification.
The false negative reported several times from the same patient is interesting, but may be more due to testing source (upper respiratory fluid vs. sputum or lower respiratory sources or blood).
(that is, what's the scale of the fuck up that the machine testing is still being brought online)
From what I can tell (mostly anecdotal and other data from friends I trust) the CDC assay used bad primers, they were noisy, showing a bunch of false positives. They also used a potentially dodgy fluorescence readout. I used to use the same readout, but our scenario was full of internal controls and the input sample was far more consistent. For human sample data a different fluorescent method that is more reliable should have been used.
Important ways this can be screwed up: it's helpful to use the same machine, the same protocol every time. This is because qPCR is an exponential assay, which means small errors can have big repercussions.
TLDR: Scale of fuckup here is massive. This really isn't that hard, and we could just have used what the WHO/others were using. I have no idea why they decided to go their own way.
more info: https://www.propublica.org/article/cdc-coronavirus-covid-19-...
"The tests use what’s called the polymerase chain reaction, a diagnostic method recommended by the WHO that amplifies the virus’s genetic code so it can be detected before the onset of symptoms. The kit comes with two vials: a primer to help detect an infection, and a synthetically engineered piece of the virus, which labs use to produce a surefire positive match to ensure their machines are working correctly. A lab technician combines these ingredients with a patient’s mucus sample—usually from a throat or nasal swab—and results are usually available in a few hours."
Coincidentally, I recently discovered the burgeoning biohacking scene in which many folks are already using affordable PCR thermocyclers in their home labs to do DNA amplification and crispr-cas experiments. I do fungal sequencing for phylogeny myself.
Given the simplicity of the testing process using PCR, why does it seem like the US is moving so slowly with getting tests in peoples hands? Is it the primer or control virus synthesis? Is it the manufacturing process? Is it red tape? If so, which specifically? Is it poor communication? Is it a confluence of factors?
Why isn't every local university or lab working together to at the least, copy the Germans protocol and get to work on manufacturing ASAP? Why isn't there a line of people outside these labs ready to drop-off their sample and get the results online? Where is the American version of the aforementioned biotech startup?
This epidemic and the general response has only reinforced my belief in the future of citizen science and the widespread accessibility of indie biohacking tools and methodologies. There are just too many misaligned incentives in pharma research, leaving huge gaps in the ability to bring new tests and drugs to the market. Look no further than the antibiotic resistant drug problem.
In the US you have this combination of heavy over-regulation and lack of public provisioning. It's like the worst of both combined. Between this, cannabis, ketamine, and the opioid crisis, I absolutely do not understand why there isn't an uproar over overregulation in healthcare getting in the way.
Also were talking about a virulent pathogen sample. Do you truly want to stand in line and collect random snot samples with covid virus without proper training and PPE?
What you might be missing is consistency, which is what the medical system is worried about. You want to avoid false negatives AND false positives when it really counts. Getting that consistency is where the regulations come in. Nowadays I think it's appropriate to relax them a little in the interest of the emergency.
This has already happened in the US, with 1.5 million tests ready to ship, with emergency approval from the US government. In April they will be producing 5 million tests per week. https://ir.thermofisher.com/investors/news-and-events/news-r...
"Mologic said it will invest a part of an expansion to its $4.9m grant from the Bill and Melinda-Gates Foundation to finance access to Sherlock's INSPECTR™ platform, which the Cambridge-based US company licences earlier this year from the Wyss Institute.
Under the agreement, Mologic will provide its lateral flow-based platform CARD, which has been demonstrated to provide a 1,000-fold improvement in sensitivity over current technology, and its immunoassay platform ELTABA for enzyme activity detection. Sherlock Bioscience will provide its synthetic biology-based INSPECTR™ platform, which consists of a DNA hybridization-based sensor that can be easily programmed to detect target nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) with single base pair specificity, coupled with a paper-based synthetic gene network that translates the sensor’s detection into a bioluminescent signal that is easily visualised or captured on instant film. Crucially, this process can be done at room temperature and does not require any instrumentation."
SHERLOCK is an evolution of CRISPR technology, which others use to make precise edits in genetic code. SHERLOCK can detect the unique genetic fingerprints of virtually any DNA or RNA sequence in any organism or pathogen. Developed by our founders and licensed exclusively from the Broad Institute, SHERLOCK is a method for single molecule detection of nucleic acid targets and stands for Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing. It works by amplifying genetic sequences and programming a CRISPR molecule to detect the presence of a specific genetic signature in a sample, which can also be quantified. When it finds those signatures, the CRISPR enzyme is activated and releases a robust signal. This signal can be adapted to work on a simple paper strip test, in laboratory equipment, or to provide an electrochemical readout that can be read with a mobile phone."
"If the sample contains the RNA of the Zika virus, the test area turns purple."
> its saliva and finger-prick kit could be ready for sale by June for less than $1 apiece
> Mologic and the Institut Pasteur have joint capacity to produce 8 million tests a year
every little helps, and a low-cost test would obviously be a game-changer. but let's keep things in perspective and be realistic. it sounds quite hypothetical right now. there's no indication it works reliably yet.
If it just goes unchecked exponentialy for 2 months then significant fraction of world population will die. Like 2-digit percentage.
Not only that, demographically the hardest hit population (80+) are not in the time of their lives where they spend the bulk of their money nor are they in the most productive time of their lives.
See https://youtu.be/BYTFk34nhoI from the 10 to 12 minute mark.
At which point, once we have fast and reliable testing, we can actually start having people go out more and reduce the isolation, since we can count on better testing to stop the spread.
My niece and great nephews in Victoria, BC just turned up with symptoms for COVID. They were told to self-quarantine and were not tested.
You cannot believe the numbers from any country which does not have a robust testing regime. That emphatically includes Canada along with the USA.
That's not to suggest that 18% of the population is infected. Merely suggests that positive tests is a useless metric because people are not tested.
Number of people admitted to hospital might be a better indicator -- though this has a lot of delay.
It's a symptom of massive under-testing and would be greatly alleviated by an inexpensive test.
Yet the messaging until recently was "no evidence of community spread, risk remains low" with very lukewarm response. Of course there is no evidence if you don't look for it.
I understand they don't want to incite panic but anyone who's been paying attention to other countries can see that community spread is inevitable unless you have strict measures and robust testing, very early on. I'm pissed our politicians have ignored lessons from other countries.
I think this site may be paywalled unfortunately (but there is just a $1 for the first month charge):
The second graph in there shows Canada is tracking exactly the same path as most European countries and the US.
Exponential growth at the current rate would have it burning through the global population by the end of June, but since exponential growth becomes logistic growth after an appreciable fraction of the population is infected, June is probably closer to the halfway point than the end date.
And that's assuming zero curve flattening. The entire point of flattening the curve is to draw it out so that hospitals continue to function for longer. But this also makes the pandemic last longer.
A vaccine isn't expected for over a year, and even then, I'd expect at least a few months of logistical difficulties getting enough manufactured, distributed, and administered, especially given the state that hospitals will likely be in.
We would be screwed, IMHO, based on the current mitigation strategies around curve flattening that are not being communicated realistically to the public. The crop of shutdowns over the weekend were billed as 2-3 weeks.. Err, what? How are we even going to know what effect that's having without massive blanket testing? Then, nobody seems to believe anything less than 8 weeks is enough; and that's full-blown lock-down not fractions of half measures.
But as you say, the just spreads it out. So what happens in 8 weeks when we still can't let up the restrictions because if we did that the number of cases would just explode again among the uninfected population? If we aren't turning the corner by June and getting the 40% of adults who can't afford $400 in an emergency back to work..
I'm sympathetic to the UKs strategy and hope the best for them.
Exactly. People seem to be mistaking the incubation period (~two weeks) for the length of time the pandemic will last (months at minimum).
It's impossible to have a perfect quarantine, so if we were to all go back to normal after a month, the pandemic growth curve will pick up where it left off. Exiting the lockdown will need to be done super carefully to avoid this outcome.
As far as I can tell, this is probably going to be the new normal until we have a vaccine.
An Imperial College paper  out today predicts this under its most stringent suppression scenario; see the chart on page 10.
Do the math on those "flatten the curve" graphs and work out the X-axis given the projected infection rates (20%-60% of population), hospitalisation rate (15%-30%), days in hospital required (6-9) and the number of beds available.
This ends with a vaccine or a mutation that gives (partial?) immunity and a lower death rate.
I heard the mask production automation lines cost $50K to $100 in China and TW. Now the price for machines and production materials are 5-10 times the normal.
But once setup, 95% - 99% of the process is automated. There are zero pollution and it is neither labor nor capital intensive. Do need the logistic and abilities to source some raw materials. If setup, the next few months would be like printing $$$$.
TW can make 10 millions masks per day now.
China has production line making 110 millions mask per day.
They were able mobilized the industries like war time - TW actually send enlist Army personnels to the factory to help out.
This is probably OK for ice cream and computer hardware. Less so for medical supplies.
I think the big issue is supply for medical staff. There's a limited supply of legit masks. Medical staff need masks more. We need medical staff more. And the masks are more effective with training / other procedures in place. Other than that - if the masks didn't help you, medical staff wouldn't wear them.
So yes, with supply being low, it's far more useful for infected people to not spread said droplets.
Over here, supply doesn't seem to be low. Lots of smoke recently meant lots of masks in the supply chain. I'm surprised I see so few worn in the shops though, especially since I spent a lot of time in Asia where masks were common during flu season.
Even simpler--don't wear a mask for yourself, but for others.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19193267 “We found that adherence to mask use significantly reduced the risk for ILI-associated infection”
https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD... “Surgical masks or N95 respirators were the most consistent and comprehensive [physical intervention] supportive measures.”
They're trying to conserve masks for health care professionals, and DEFINITELY don't want people using "I'm wearing a mask" as an excuse to go out when they should just stay home, but I can't imagine they don't help a lot.
Imo, this all or nothing thinking is contemporary issue that plays out in many contexts and we collectivelly really should get out of it.
Basic masks can be beneficial for a short time. They need to be replaced at least every hour in order for the benefit to persist. This is routine in a hospital, but is simply impractical for most normal people.
(If a mask stops a droplet containing virus, the virus doesn't disappear. Your own breath and fine droplets keeps the mask material warm and humid—making the mask material great environment for the virus to hang out and spread through the fabric until it can be breathed directly into your lung where it can do the most damage.)
If we only had enough masks, that is.
Masks are only effective in a fairly immediate radius: someone coughs, that droplet goes a little ways then falls on a surface. Medical professionals are in that immediate radius all the time, that's why they need the masks. People are usually not sneezing directly on each other, so that's less of an issue. What IS an issue is the viral particle that is now on a surface. You touch that, move your hand to your face (perhaps to adjust your mask) and bingo you're infected. Washing your hands obsessively is WAY more useful than any mask.
Most of the time in medicine masks are used to stop the medical professional from contaminating the patient, not the other way around (that's what you see in surgery). If you're with someone sick, it would be good to give them a mask, they'll spread fewer particles that way.
TLDR: Masks are minimally useful for the broader public, very useful for those directly in harm's way. Don't buy masks unless you're sick, or someone close to you is sick. Let the supply chain work for medical professionals who actually need them.
That's not to say do or don't do it, just be careful. Handwashing and not touching your face are the single most important things to do.
> Data shows that homemade masks made with a single layer of cotton clothing, or a tea towel can remove around 50-60% of virus-sized particles.
slowhand09 has been unfairly downvoted, because they are factually correct. Epidemiologists are telling the public not to use masks because PPE needs training.
Of course masks are useful, but they're more useful in hospitals / on health care workers' face, than on the average citizen which won't be in contact with the virus that much now that most of the world is starting to get locked down anyway
Have you seen any of them cite a research paper showing that? I haven't, I'm open to suggestions if anyone has one.
Same thing with the "keeping schools open won't spread the virus" thing in the UK; lots of establishment scientists saying "trust us" but a dearth of papers detailing how the established beliefs are wrong that schools are prime transmission vectors for ARI (and closing them has helped to hinder influenza trasmissions in the past).
Not being snarky; if you've got backing for "masks don't hinder viral spread" then lets see it.
The only kind of mask that's going to filter particulate matter out of the air (i.e., be effective against the virus for someone who is not infected) is something that has an airtight seal.
For normal person? They are mostly useless. Only for people, who are already sick, to stop them from spreading virus further. Wearing mask by healthy person doesn't make sense, because there is not much to stop viruses with coming in contact with your eyes. You are always a scratch away from bringing those viruses into your body, negating any benefit from mask. And most of mask, you can buy currently are not dense enough to capture viruses.
OP is correct, unless you are sick or medical worker, you don't need mask. Don't buy them, hospitals need them much more than you.
Is WHO  good enough source for you?
They say "If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection."
That assumes you're doing everything else to protect yourself already, like stay away from crowded places.
It also assumes that you know that you're healthy. You could be carrying COVID-19 without knowing it!
One reason health practitioners wear masks is not to infect vulnerable patients with something they might be carrying.
> there is not much to stop viruses with coming in contact with your eyes.
Other than the goggles that you mentioned; yet, nurses in hospitals don't routinely wear goggles, yet do wear masks.
This is probably because your eyes do not suck in air the way your air passages do, and also don't spew viruses into the air.
There is a reason why South Korea officially distributes masks to the public. Everybody in China and Japan wears masks, too.
Um, this is kinda what ordinary people want!!
If you stop it spreading, then most of us don't get it!
Yes, it doesn't stop you getting it, but if it stops you spreading it then we hinder/stop the epidemic [but we're way past that now].
I can't see how reducing transmission "isn't helping".
Sure, they are not as good as respirators. And we as general public should not bulk buy them now.
Has more info on studies related to this. I believe their claim is that tying a cloth around your nose/mouth is 50% as effective as a proper mask.
Maybe my country is outlier, but doctors in non surgical situation use mask (not respirator) and no googles. It is not airtight either.
I don't think they do it because it would be useless.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face mask can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to use masks wisely.
WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and mis-use of masks (see Advice on the use of masks).
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus for more information.
They don't say it useless, just they not recommend it
They can be cleaned. It's not ideal, but very likely better than nothing. Sorry, can't find link, but they tried a variety of different techniques to hit on one that worked.
Antibody tests are more suitable for test strips, and work under 30m, but they need blood test.
Few companies in China are already marketing 30 minute PCR systems. One from Xiamen, another from Nansha.
Based on this, I'd guess they are talking about an antibody based test. There are point of care Influenza tests that work on the same principle. Probably not as sensitive as a PCR test, but definitely cheaper and faster -- if you can get a good antibody.
Unlike other false positives that could lead to unneeded/harmful interventions (surgery, chemo), erring on the side of false positives would actually be desirable for COVID-19.
Unless you are in such an extreme case that you need a respirator or something, in which case they will hospitalize you and you might be around other diseased victims, but if you are in that condition then it is probably not a false positive. There is a shortage of hospital beds worldwide right now, so they are sending everyone home unless hospitalization is considered life-saving.
Some states are banning evictions for a few months, so at least there is that option. But it just means they'll be homeless in June instead of April.
Where the tests are "not very accurate" is the false negative. The false negative rate can be as high as 50-60%, depending on tests and how it's administered. Sometimes they will conduct the test twice to improve accuracy.
The Roche ones recently approved have a lower negative test rate (10%?)
Edit: I removed my mention of 0% false positive rate because nothing in life is absolute.
Need a citation on this. In order to even make a strong statement about the false positive rate you need to have some sort of alternate confirmation mechanism, usually clinical diagnosis or another more comprehensive test. That kind of work takes time and we haven't gotten to the point where we know this.
False positives in the test are one possible reason for the resurgence in Singapore; the initial screenings were overreporting the number of cases leading to a false sense of security, followed by a surge in real cases as the spread continued.
EDIT: A quick look at some of the tests available indicate that currently providers are not publishing specificity/sensitivity numbers in general under the accelerated release guidelines. One I did find was biomedomics test , which claims "The overall testing sensitivity was 88.66% and specificity was 90.63%", so ~10% of negative cases will show as positive.
It seems asymptomatic patients can test negative multiple times on RT-PCR assays but be diagnosed other ways.
I've read somewhere that at least in China, the specificity of the PCR tests is only 60-70%, leaving ~30% undetected.
From the Discussion section of this paper: https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2020200642:
"According to current diagnostic criterion, viral nucleic acid test by RT-PCR assay plays a vital role in determining hospitalization and isolation for individual patients. However, its lack of sensitivity, insufficient stability, and relatively long processing time were detrimental to the control of the disease epidemic. In our study, the positive rate of RT-PCR assay for throat swab samples was 59% (95%CI, 56%-62%) which was consistent with previous report (30 - 60%) (6). In addition, a number of any external factors may affect RT-PCR testing results including sampling operations, specimens source (upper or lower respiratory tract), sampling timing (different period of the disease development) (6), and performance of detection kits. As such, the results of RT-PCR tests must be cautiously interpreted."
>That means if the test says you have Coronavirus, you have it.
This line implies the parent comment is talking about the false positive rate of the entire testing process that results in you being told you're infected, not PCR as a platonic ideal, theoretical process.
But I agree that 0% false positive rates are going to be nearly impossible to achieve (for just about anything that isn't mathematics).
What does it mean if the specimen tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19? A positive test result for COVID-19 indicates that RNA from SARS-CoV-2 was detected, and the patient is infected with the virus and presumed to be contagious
What does it mean if the specimen tests negative for the virus that causes COVID-19? A negative test result for this test means that SARSCoV-2 RNA was not present in the specimen above the limit of detection. However, a negative result does not rule out COVID-19 and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions. A negative result does not exclude the possibility of COVID-19.
You still haven't addressed the possibility of a protocol error such as a switched sample. The lab test itself may never produce false positives, but that emphatically does not mean that if the lab test comes back positive there is a 100% guarantee that the patient is infected.
If you want to argue on the fact of life that nothing in life is absolute. Fine. you win. If administered properly, and the test kit detects a presence of COHVID-19 RNA in your body, and the person telling you the results is not drunk, then the results is as close as 0% as practical.
* Get DNA out of cells and unwrapped from their histones.
* Cleave the DNA sample with restriction enzymes at boundary sites which should mark the start/end of a stretch of viral DNA.
* Amplify the sample with PCR, using primers which match stretches of viral DNA.
* Run a gel electrophoresis and look for a mass of DNA that matches the expected size of the stretch of viral DNA.
Is that how things work, or are these kinds of diagnostics done differently?
Note: I haven't seen any of the protocols, just what I've been able to learn from press reports.
Edit: Here's a link to the CDC's panel protocol: https://www.fda.gov/media/134922/download
And to add Wikipedia's page on real-time PCR (not to be confused with RT-PCR, which is also used here): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_polymerase_chain_rea... . However, the crux of it is that the reaction contains a chemical that fluoresces in the presence of double-stranded DNA. As the PCR reaction progresses, if there is a valid template in the original mixture (i.e. if there is virus present), then there will be a detectable amount of DNA present after a number of PCR cycles. The lower the number of PCR cycles required to detect this fluorescence, the more viral RNA was present in the initial sample.
While you could have an assay that used sequencing, it wouldn't be nearly as fast or cost efficient.
>RNA isolated and purified from upper and lower respiratory specimens is reverse transcribed to cDNA
and subsequently amplified in the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR Instrument with SDS
version 1.4 software. In the process, the probe anneals to a specific target sequence located between
the forward and reverse primers. During the extension phase of the PCR cycle, the 5’ nuclease activity
of Taq polymerase degrades the probe, causing the reporter dye to separate from the quencher dye,
generating a fluorescent signal. With each cycle, additional reporter dye molecules are cleaved from
their respective probes, increasing the fluorescence intensity. Fluorescence intensity is monitored at
each PCR cycle by Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR System with SDS version 1.4
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but 20 years is a very short amount of time if you look back on the history of the advancement of engineering and our understanding of the world. It's very exciting, especially when you look at how little the basic operating concept of computers has changed in the same timeframe.
Also, for an RNA virus, it starts with reverse transcriptase.
If this was worth reporting on, there should be some kind of data showing how effective and cheap the test is when compared to the competition. I wonder what led Bloimberg and other financial news to pick this story up.
They're far from the only ones who've developed a far better test.
Without specifically looking for them, since the outbreak began I've seen 4 or 5 reports of different companies developing far better tests.
Unfortunately, I don't know if any of them have actually been put in to use, or what the obstacles to doing so are.
Were any of the reports more detailed than "hey, we developed a better test. Give us money."
Google Translate Translation
Having said that, Coronavirus is consider a repository illness...so you'd probably perform the same home treatment as any other respiratory illness.
Notably, you should not take ibuprofen or other NSAIDS. Stick to acetaminophen/paracetamol instead.
Guidance from France's health minister:
The Snopes  article covers the general gist although there is an early report around that the minister likely read and passed on in the form of a tweet.
Research is changing constantly right now so evidence may or may not show NSAIDs contraindicated with greater risk than other infections.
[Yes, finance isn't that easy, the knock on effects would make the cost possibly greater, maybe less(!)?]
If we had a cheap test that tells us whether we have some kind of illness, corona-flu included, then I'd say that would be tremendously useful.
Then again, the rapid flu test only takes about 5 to 20 more minutes than this, and doesn't really cost much more than any routine diagnostic.