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Which COVID-19 tests are required for international travel?

Which COVID-19 tests are required for international travel?It depends on where you're going.In an effort to limit the spread of new coronavirus variants, man.

February 07, 2021 / 06:50 PM IST
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Which COVID-19 tests are required for international travel?

It depends on where you're going.

In an effort to limit the spread of new coronavirus variants, many countries are requiring incoming travelers to show a recent negative test.

The U.S., for example, will accept results from either a test that detects the genetic material of the virus considered the most sensitive type of test or a rapid test that looks for viral proteins called antigens. The tests must have been taken no more than three days before departing for the U.S.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Health professionals usually give more sensitive lab tests via a nasal swab that take a day or more to yield results. Rapid tests have a turnaround time of about 15 to 30 minutes and are increasingly used to screen people at testing sites, offices, schools and nursing homes. For some rapid tests, users can swab themselves at home.

With either test, the U.S. requires electronic or printed proof of the negative result from a medical laboratory. That means that even if you plan to get the faster test youll likely need to see a health care provider who can provide documentation.

England has a similar setup, accepting results from both types of tests. But health authorities there are imposing extra requirements, including that the tests meet certain thresholds for accuracy. Travelers are told to check to make sure their test meets the standards.

After countries instituted varying requirements, officials in the European Union agreed to standardize requirements across the 27-nation bloc.

 
Associated Press

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