COVID-19 News: Policy Makers Banking On Using Antibody Tests Help End The COVID-19 Crisis Are Simply Stupid!
: Politicians and government officials with no medical or science training are trying to use medical and research platforms in the wrong way to formulate public policies to further their own personal and party agendas.
To date the whole COVID-19 crisis has been mismanaged by governments and also health authorities developing policies and guidelines.(Forget WHO…it is not even worth the time or efforts to talk about the incompetent agency)
The New York Times reported that survey of New Yorkers a week ago found that about 20 percent of city residents carried antibodies to the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and Governor Andrew Cuomo was rejoicing in that news.
He prematurely concluded that If so many had been infected and survived, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus may be far less deadly than previously thought.
However many medical researchers and scientists took a more pessimistic view, seeing instead a vast pool of people who are still very vulnerable to infection and some who could still be shedding the virus and helping to spread the virus even more vastly.
Already there are studies are showing that the immunity is short lived and worse many of those ‘recovered patients’ are actually getting reinfected, often with more serious outcomes the second time round.
To make matters worse, it is a reality that there are more mutated versions of the strains of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus out there with different behavior and characteristics and already there are reports of individuals being infected with more than one strain. Developing antibodies for one strain is of no help when another strain is circulating around.
Unfortunately, like the ignorant leaders of many states, Cuomo has been hoping that the results of large-scale antibody testing may guide decisions about when and how to reopen the economy and reintegrate society.
Medical scientists and researchers never imagined that these tests would become an instrument of public policy and many are uncomfortable with the idea.
To date, antibody tests, which show who has been infected, are often unreliable and inaccurate, recent research suggests, and it is not clear whether a positive result actually signals immunity to the coronavirus.
On the 24th
of April, the WHO (World Health Organization) warned against relying on these tests for policy decisions.
Certain European countries such as Italy have even floated the stupid idea of "immunity passports" for people who test positive, WHO officials noted that it is not known to what extent people carrying antibodies are immune to the virus.
WHO had already warned earlier that people with antibodies may not be immune at all.
However widespread testing has started nonetheless and despite such a waste of monies and resources, ridiculous and stupid decisions are likely to flow from the results by these ignorant policy makers.
Even the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and virtually every university with an epidemiology department has begun antibody surveys in communities across
the United States while they could not even get their acts on standard testing for COVID-19 infected patients properly using the standard PCR NAT platform.
Dr Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota commented, "It seems like all of a sudden, everybody just decided that antibody tests are going to give them some grand answer."
It seems that the goal of most of these projects to guide decisions about reopening the economy.
However medical scientists are now racing to fine-tune the tests and learn more about what having antibodies actually means, both for the patient and for the community.
So far a few queries raised by these initiatives have been met with no easy answers: When will we achieve "herd immunity"? How quickly does the virus spread? How long does immunity last, and how strong is it?
Dr Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at the University of Florida This is a very difficult problem, and the solutions are not going to be easy. Normal is not on the horizon yet."
It seems that the results in New York state is an indicator of an early glimpse of the promise and pitfalls of widespread antibody testing.
New York Public health officials tested 3,000 residents at grocery stores and big-box retailers throughout the state and discovered about 21 per cent of participants in the city were found to carry SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus antibodies.
It was observed that the rate was about 17 per cent on Long Island, nearly 12 per cent in Westchester County and Rockland County, and less than 4 per cent in the rest of the state.
Despite the fact that the survey was professionally designed and the results la credible, unlike Cuomo, few medical experts saw any positive news in the numbers.
Dr Carl Bergstrom, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Washington in Seattle commented, “I just don't see any way to put a silver lining on any of these results. think that the efforts to spin it that way are irresponsible."
Considering that about only 20 percent residents in hard-hit New York City has been exposed to the virus, he and others said, then 80 percent are still vulnerable and that underscores how far we are from the pandemic's end.
Certain conservative public authorities have argued that York's death rate of between 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent is too low to justify statewide lockdowns.
However public health experts like Dr Bergstrom took the opposite view and said, "If the mortality rate is 1 per cent, we're looking at 2 million deaths, which is unprecedented in our nation's history and unimaginable. Anyone talking about the death rate as 'only 1 per cent and so we should not worry about it' has an extraordinarily callous view."
Interestingly, the New York survey confirms what experts have long believed: that because of the lack of tests, the state has undercounted the true number infections by about a factor of 10.
Removing lockdown controls with such a huge vulnerable population and without careful consideration could be disastrous, allowing the coronavirus to sweep through the country, Dr Bergstrom and others said.
Also, another lesson from the survey: New York is far from attaining "herd immunity" ie a proportion of the community immune to the virus that is so large that the pathogen cannot maintain a toehold.
In order for that to be achieved, experts have estimated that 60 to 70 per cent of the population would need to be immune. Even then, the coronavirus would continue to spread, just at a slower rate.
Dr Maimuna Majumder, a computational epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School stressed, "Honestly, from an ethical vantage point, herd immunity in the absence of a vaccine is not something we should be aiming to achieve. To get there, that's a lot of sick people and a lot of deaths."
Some experts are saying that while these results should not be used to make public health decisions, they can be useful for estimating the size and nature of the epidemic.
Furthermore antibody surveys can also identify high-risk groups and it very important for policy understanding who are these groups that we need to focus on and work to protect."
Medical researchers are also repeatedly warning that the presence of antibodies does not signify protection from the virus. Some preliminary evidence suggests, for example, that people who are asymptomatic might not produce enough antibodies to prevent a second infection.
In order to ascertain what quantity of antibodies are needed in the blood, researchers need further tests, both to measure the exact amount which the majority of rapid tests available do not provide, as well as more detailed analyses of the antibodies' strength.
These research findings will take weeks to months.
However diagnostic tests for the virus offer a better snapshot of the current picture and states should focus on acquiring accurate diagnostic tests that can provide timely data on the rise or fall in the number of infections.
Many medical researchers argue that this should be the data used to judge opening or not opening" the economy.
While policy makers are mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic, the death rates are escalating exponentially day by day and despite short-term drop in death rates or so called “peaking” stages. Furthermore there are warnings that further waves of infections will emerge and not dependent on seasonal changes but rather other factors such as the behavior of the SARS-CoV-2 and its characteristics and also the mutational and evolving attributes.
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