Double good news here.
Andrew M. Slavitt, a former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (ex-Obama health care head), tweeted this last week when Yale scientists announced they had FDA Emergency Use Authorization for their new covid test. Not only have Yale developed the test but they’ve developed a system for making the test easily available and cheap.
Lots of other good stuff in the whole thread, there’s an unrolled version here.
It’s a perfect turn of the road to see if profits or our country are more important.
It does seem remarkable given what is happening in the US. Good on Yale for developing this model and sidestepping Big Pharma and the government interests that favour commerce over people.
This is another example of what we can do when it really matters, and how TINA can be retired if we want to. It also strikes me as what happens when people have their hearts in the right place and I hope this creates some ripple effect within science and university communities.
In a neat US/NZ connection, one of the lead scientists on the project is Kiwi Dr Anne Wiley.
From what I can tell the test will complement rather than replace other kinds of testing, in a more tools in the toolbox kind of way. Tests are to be rolled out over the US over the next few weeks, it’s unclear if/when this will be available internationally.
I saw one tweet this morning saying the new test should be used at New Zealand airports, which I hope means we should integrate the new tech with the same degree of caution and thoughtfulness we’ve applied to the rest of our response. As opposed to say calls to open borders because we have this amazing new test. The test appears to have a similar failure rate as the current swab test, and like all tech will need to be applied in real life situations that are far from perfect. There are no panaceas here and we are still in a marathon not a sprint.
Edit: Epidemiologist, Immunologist and Physician at Harvard School of Public Health & Harvard Med School, Michael Mina, critiques the new test and points to overhype on a number of counts,