MD- in view of rising Covid-19 cases in the USA the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has announced that it will step up testing.
Over the last few months testing in the USA had gone down a little bit, but in view of rising cases, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has once again decided to take the scale up their RT-PCR testing. Director of NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced the push for increasing testing on Tuesday.
Coronavirus Testing In The USA Going Up Again
The Covid-19 Response Coordinator of the White House, Jeff Zients has already informed the state that the federal government is ready to provide all possible support to increase testing facilities. Zients has also mentioned that the states can ask for any kind of help with regard to vaccination capacity or improved treatment of infections.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has stressed the need for increased testing by pointing out that testing at present in the USA is down to 584,000 per day in contrast to a daily figure of 1.5 million just six months ago. Even a year ago testing had been at 900,000 per day.
Dr. Patrick Godbey a reputed practitioner and president of the College of American pathologists also agrees with the need to immediately increase testing. Godbey believes that in controlling any infectious diseases more data is always better.
But Gobey has also stressed that scaling up of testing cannot mean a compromise on quality. The increased testing also has to maintain the accuracy of results.
At present, there are many different forms of testing available. People can take at-home tests or their samples can be collected by physicians or pharmacists. But the best and most reliable form of testing for Covid-19 infection is the RT-PCR test which uses a kind of nucleic acid amplification detection mechanism to recognize viral RNA.
The CDC recognizes RT-PCR tests as the marker of a community’s positivity rate. CDC is working on the assumption that the probability of a person contracting Covid-19 is directly proportional to the infection positivity rate in their vicinity.
The CDC uses the percentage of positive RT-PCR tests and the number of cases per 100,000 in a locality to decide the transmission level of the virus in a particular locality. There are different levels of transmission from high to low and depending on this level CDC chooses the disease mitigation measures for a particular area.
Godbey suggests that even vaccinated persons who are worried about possible exposure to the virus can get an RT-PCR test.
Gobdey’s recommendation is in line with CDC’s new directive that states vaccinated people should get tested within three to five days if they believe they have been exposed to the virus. This is a complete turnaround from the CDC’s earlier recommendation that vaccinated people did not need to get tested if they did not develop any symptoms.
Gobey warns vaccinated people that the vaccine is not a complete guarantee against infection. Vaccinated people can also get the Covid-19 infection. But for them, the severity of the symptoms will be much milder than any non-vaccinated persons.
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Godbey is also not high in favor of at-home tests. He feels that these tests are not very accurate as many environmental factors can alter tests results. He mentions that if a person buys a test kit and leaves it in their car for a while the high temperatures inside the car can damage the kit.
Moreover, users also often fail to follow all testing instructions correctly. Shipping samples to testing centers is also a cumbersome process that can damage sample quality.
Godbey believes that testing done in controlled laboratory conditions is the best and possibly only accurate means of finding infection rates. Doctors like Godbey are all pushing for increased Covid-19 testing in the United States in order to keep the pandemic under control.
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