PerspectiveViewpoint: COVID-19

COVID-19 testing: One size does not fit all

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Science  08 Jan 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6525, pp. 126-127
DOI: 10.1126/science.abe9187

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  • RE: Encompassing Tests for COVID-19

    The pointed and informative perspective by medical experts against a one-size fits all testing strategy for COVID-19 bears testimony that a flexible approach to the pandemic is necessary, specially with the recent developments regarding a mutation strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK, which is even more highly transmissible and infectious than the original wild-type COVID-19 strain.   

    It stands to reason that any authorized vaccine for the wild-type coronavirus might not be as safe and effective for highly transmissible mutations, which arise as the virus replicates, and which affects risk monitoring and management, diagnostic testing, medical data collection and analysis, and global vaccination programs.

    The mutated variant has been given different names, such as a VUI (Variant Under Investigation) 202012/01, VUI–202012/01, or the B.1.1.7 lineage.  

    Accurate testing for the wild strain will not necessarily lead to the same outcomes as for the mutated strains, especially in terms of determining false positives and false negatives.

    Mathematical and statistical modelling of herding effects can lead to inaccuracies, especially with wide bounds on any parameter estimates of the model, including the precise % of a population that needs to be infected for the model to work in practice as it is hypothesized to work in theory.

    Whatever its identification, mutations should not be treated as if they were treatable in the same manner as the original wild...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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