Antigen Assays: a third type of test for COVID infections.

A third type of coronavirus test has recently been introduced. This test is somewhat like the swab or PCR test, because it directly looks for the presence of COVID-19. Rather than looking for viral RNA like the PCR assay, this test looks for viral proteins (antigens). The antigen test as it is called involves theContinue reading “Antigen Assays: a third type of test for COVID infections.”

An additional problem with the national testing program.

After I published a blog post outlining the problems with the national testing program, another issue surfaced. A paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the window of accuracy for testing people for coronavirus infection is very narrow. Patients tested too early or late after the onset of symptoms showed false negative resultsContinue reading “An additional problem with the national testing program.”

The proposed US COVID testing program is inherently flawed.

A commonly heard refrain has been the call for COVID testing as a preamble to reducing social distancing. The concept underlying this is that people will be screened to identify infected individuals, and then they and their contacts will be identified and isolated. This will control transmission and reduce the number of infections. While thisContinue reading “The proposed US COVID testing program is inherently flawed.”

Flash; You may not want to be tested for COVID-19 using the Abbott ID NOW.

Today, a paper available online reinforced concerns that the Abbott ID NOW, a rapid molecular (genetic) detection test for COVID-19 viral RNA, is significantly less sensitive than traditional genetic assays employing the polymerize chain reaction. The major advantage for the Abbott test is that it is a small device that can be transported to testing sites andContinue reading “Flash; You may not want to be tested for COVID-19 using the Abbott ID NOW.”

I am having a meltdown about today’s Senate hearing.

I tried to write a rational assessment of today’s hearing, but that effort seemed much too polite given the actual proceedings.  What seems clear now is that the government does not know what to do next about COVID. It is whipsawed between being accused of being too restrictive and destroying the economy, or too aggressively reducingContinue reading “I am having a meltdown about today’s Senate hearing.”

More news on COVID antibody screening

Three interesting articles came out concerning antibody testing in COVID-19. The first was a prepublication on antibody testing from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The study was conducted from March 26 to April 10, 2020 and looked at 1,343 mildly symptomatic outpatient subjects (only 3% had been ill enough to be seen in the emergency department).Continue reading “More news on COVID antibody screening”

The FDA puts the hammer down on unapproved blood tests – sort of.

The FDA today took action to clear up the mess in COVID-19 blood testing. You might remember that blood tests for COVID-19 were allowed to enter the US under a special emergency use approval (EUA) called Part D. Under this special exemption, a test could be imported and sold on a “promise” that the manufacturerContinue reading “The FDA puts the hammer down on unapproved blood tests – sort of.”

Biscuit returns, albeit a bit hoarse…

Biscuit and Nindy return to talk about their dumbest COVID-19 ideas of the week. Nindy had to do most of the talking though since Biscuit tried to drink the Lysol. Poor dog just believes everything he hears on TV…. 1) Underestimating COVID-19 infection rates. Infection rates have been remarkably underestimated, which gives people a false senseContinue reading “Biscuit returns, albeit a bit hoarse…”

Why COVID-19 antibody assays can be unreliable.

As discussed in the blog post yesterday, the COVID-19, lateral flow antibody test is a remarkably simple, very stable and consistent platform. It requires no machine to run, it can be stored at up to 86°F for up to a year, and as long as the reagents are unused it gives very consistent results. DespiteContinue reading “Why COVID-19 antibody assays can be unreliable.”