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Do you think COVID-19 medical tests accurate and necessary?

 We are told there are two main types of tests in use. They are PCR and Lateral Flow test, while Antigen Test result can also mean active infection. This test looks for the protein specific to the virus, instead of the genetic material as in PCR.

by Victor Cherubim 

Coronavirus testing has become part of everyday life for many in the UK and around the world, in the continuing drive to tackle the pandemic and return to normality, if there is any such a thing called “normal”.

Of the 45,212,813 people in UK as of 12 October 2021 to be precise being double vaccinated, PCR samples/swabs are now being redirected to other labs, perhaps, due to human error. Researchers’ state as many as 43,000 people in England & Wales may have been wrongly tested as COVID-19 negative because of errors at the PCR Testing Centre - Immensa Health Clearing, Wolverhampton, in the West Midlands. Nerves are growing in Government over the rising cases in recent weeks, in England. 

It has taken a month to identify the fault that has come to light now. Those still infected are being asked to re-take another COVID-19 test. This error could mean “many thousands of infected with COVID-19 were wrongly told to stop isolating and could well have infected others”, stated Professor Alan McNally, from the University of Birmingham. Admission of guilt is perhaps, far better than silence.

The different types of COVID-19 Tests

We are told there are two main types of tests in use. They are PCR and Lateral Flow test, while Antigen Test result can also mean an active infection. This test looks for the protein specific to the virus, instead of the genetic material as in PCR.

That no test is 100 percent perfect or precise, as today Scientists are researching whether a new variant could be responsible for the anomaly and/or the PCR can miss cases that have “S gene dropout,” which was found in the Kent variant, labelled “Alpha variant”. Who knows?

PCR means Polymerase Chain Reaction is a Laboratory test to detect genetic material from a specific organism such as a virus or bacteria. This test only detects the presence of a virus, only if you have the virus at the exact time of the test. It could also detect fragments of the virus even after you are no longer infected. 

PCR analyses your upper respiratory specimen by nasal or throat swabs or saliva sample.

PCR has revolutionised the study of DNA to such an extent that its creator, Kary B. Mullis was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993.

LFT is a rapid Lateral Flow Test, helps to find cases of COVID-19 in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others. A test pack can be collected from a pharmacy and usually involves taking a sample from your throat or nose, using a swab and you get the personal result in 15 minutes depending on the type of LFT. 

From 24 October 2021, fully vaccinated passengers and those arriving in Britain must have a LF, while rapid LFT are currently widely used in England by schools and workplaces. 

After a positive LFT, the official NHS guideline today is to take a PCR to confirm COVID-19.

There is always something making Medicine history

As we worry about COVID-19, we also mark 2021 as the historic centenary of the discovery of Insulin. We honour the revolutionary innovation by John Macleod, Sir Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip. The life changing impact that Insulin has had around the world has been immeasurable.

We were told back in the early twentieth century, the onset of Diabetes posed grave consequences for anyone unfortunate to receive a diagnosis. With the common prognosis being just one year to live. 

The innovative work of these pioneers changed the landscape of the treatment for diabetes and turned it into a manageable condition. Since then, the use of Insulin has allowed people living with diabetes to live full lives. 

We are now told Diabetes will be the next epidemic triggering more cases by 2030 in the UK. 

Dr. Quinton Fivelman, Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory has warned that people can do more to avoid the risk of COVID-19 and Diabetes comorbidity by taking early action both for COVID Antibody and other tests as well as the Diabetic Test which measures the level of HbA1C, a biomarker in people’s blood.

Life is made for living and not only for taking tests unlimited. However, as the saying goes,

“Prevention is better than cure”.               


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