Harvard Medical Professor - rapid antigen tests halted Covid-19 spread in Slovakia with a 60% fall of Covid-19 in 7 days

Jul 2, 2020
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Analysis of three rapid antigen testing rounds detected covid infections decreased by 58% within one week in the 45 counties of Slovakia that were subject to two rounds of mass testing.

The authors, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, said that

This decrease could not be explained solely by the other restrictions and that it highlighted the impact of isolating people who tested positive and quarantining the members of their household.




Harvard Medical Professor Dr Mina explains how cheap Covid-19 antigen tests could be rolled out economically on a massive scale to help bring Covid-19 under control very rapidly and possibly within 1 month as was shown in Slovakia.

This strategy is already being succesfully used in certain Schools in the USA and Germany which have stayed open - see cases in link at end.

PROFESSOR Mina says the FDA has failed to roll out this cheap and effective antigen testing solution which is probably a vital way forward.

The FDA is set up to deal with medical devices and not simple public health solutions

Please see Harvard Research posts, media articles and short podcast with Professor Mina

View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Buyo8joF3So


Summary

Covid-19 antigen rapid tests take between 5 and 15 minutes to give a result

are simple for anyone to administer at home

certain FDA approved antigen tests are over 99% accurate

can cost from a few cents to a few dollars to make.

One household or work or school group can mix their test samples in one antigen test and if it gives a positive Covid-19 result they could retest with another type or style of antigen kit to confirm the result and if still positive test individually which people were infected.

Quickly reducing the number of people with Covid-19 in circulation will dramatically stop the spread

PCR Tests

The alternative PCR tests take 5 days to get results and are both expensive and time consuming to administer and process

Harvard Professor explains how antigen tests are inexpensive, simple to manufacture, easy to use, give Covid-19 results in minutes, and are extremely effective at detecting when people are most contagious with COVID-19.

Although antigen tests are not as accurate as the PCR tests, Mina said that problem could be solved by requiring a second test using a different type of antigen test to confirm original results.

It is highly unlikely that different types of antigen test would also produce a false positive

If enough people were provided with the tests and used them frequently, they’d know if they were contagious and could then isolate themselves to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others.

Mina cited the example of Slovakia, “where massive screening has, in two weeks, completely turned the epidemic around.” He said that even if only half the U.S. population used the tests, outbreaks could still be stopped in a matter of weeks.

Although antigen tests are not as accurate as the PCR tests, Mina said that problem could be solved by requiring a second test to confirm original results.

He explained that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t yet authorized at-home tests because the agency typically regulates medical devices, not public health screening tools—which is how rapid antigen tests should be used. “We need to create a new authorization pathway within the FDA (or the CDC) that can review and approve the use of at-home antigen testing, without these medical-centric barriers,” he wrote.

Mina, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Immunology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics and Associate Medical Director of Microbiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School



 
Last edited:
Nov 12, 2020
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In the U.S. the guidelines are: wear a mask outside; avoid crowed enclosed areas with a marked degree of people interaction, i.e.: follow local restrictions; when feeling sick, get tested for covid-19/stay home/see a doctor; don't travel unless necessary, and observe the local quarantine rules. These guidelines are contentious in the U.S.. However, such seems to have worked in Slovakia. I suspect that in the U.S. economic survival and the lack of federal/ state governmental aid/alternatives/compromises is a paramount factor driving the morbidity.
 
Jul 2, 2020
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Covid lockdowns have not worked in other than the very short term except if you lockdown those who are ill or have been in contact with Covid

We need an advanced warning system before people show symptoms of being sick to stop Covid being spread.

Mass lockdowns only pause the Covid spread.

Taiwan has stopped Covid with a targeted lockdown of those who had contact with Covid the country has no general lockdown

Without any vaccines Taiwan has been very successful at using targeted isolation and rapid testing in stopping Covid.

Taiwan has a test track trace isolate strategy which has stopped Covid

Once a lockdown ends the virus starts spreading rapidly if it is anywhere in the population.

Mass home work school antigen testing can be simply cheaply and easily done once or twice each day by combining multiple individual test samples into 2 distinct and different antigen testing methods. If either shows Covid the tests can be done on smaller groups until the infected are identified and all in the group must isolate and keep retesting

Vaccines may not work we need a mass public health solution that stops Covid from circulating

We need cheap easy to use tech that can be used in Africa and the USA etc to stop Covid otherwise the virus will probably keep coming back and is already mutating like the flu.

Vaccines may not provide a solution

1 or 2 antigen testing kits can be used to quickly test a big number of people at the start of each day - say a school class - to see if anyone has the virus. Action can then rapidly be taken

Only by identifying carriers before they circulate can the virus be stopped.

This is basic public health strategy

The curent understanding is that vaccines may only reduce the level of the infection in a person, but may not stop Covid being caught or spread by a vaccinated person.

We also do not know how long a vaccine is effective even if it stops the virus spreading

Mass Rapid Antigen Home or Work or School etc Testing needs to happen to see what is happening with vaccination and otherwise

It provides both real time news of where the virus is and how many are infected but also is cheap easy to use and effective

It also provides an alternative and parallel way forward to vaccines.

Other drugs can be used to stop Covid as the medical results show which work in part or fully

This strategy will not depend only on vaccines

Vaccines may have only a time limited protection or may fail to stop the vaccinated from catching and spreading Covid .

The Slovakian results show that antigen testing was almost certainly a key factor in getting the rapid reduction in Covid cases.

The UK study of the Slovakian results says the 60% decline in Covid in one week was not explained by the lockdown measures.

Its important to isolate those groups who have been in contact with an infectious person as well as the infected person

That is why rapid frequent testing is critical as Harvard Professor Dr Mina has set out.

Prof Mina has talked to the FDA and says the FDA are not able to act in a mass public health role and they are stuck as regulators of medical devices and medicine

Mass rapid antigen testing is a public health not regulatory role. Its like asking a car mechanic to arrange a mass vehicle recall

Additionally the antigen testing companies have realized they can sell 1 kit for $30 or more if paid for by insurance which can be done if the kit is approved by the FDA as a medical device

They make more money this way rather than selling 6 kits for $5 and do so for less effort and investment in their own infrastructure cost

These antigen kits are like pregnancy test kits or even just a simple paper test kit which detect Covid RNA or other Covid material etc. Its well tested old technology used to detect various viruses in the same simple way. Just the reaction paper needs to be modified to detect Covid.

The vaccine manufacturers have no interest in testing stopping Covid as vaccine sales would fall rapidly

Most other health bodies around the world have failed to introduce rapid home testing
 

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