Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Testing

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I have just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s “The Code Breaker” (Simon & Schuster 2021 ISBN 978-1-9821-1585-2) It is about Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race. I highly recommend it. I think it ought to have been called The Code Breakers since there were – and are – a lot more people involved. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

One of the chapters in the book describes how CRISPR was used to create tests. The important thing to note that though there were several teams all working at once they were coöperating as much as competing and all the findings and methodologies were placed in the public domain. One of the teams under Feng Zhang used a SHERLOCK process that by the end of 2020 produced “a small machine that could be used to get results in less than an hour”

“The CRISPR based tests developed by Mammoth and Sherlock are cheaper and faster than conventional PCR tests. They also have an advantage over antigen tests … can detect the presence of the RNA of the virus as soon as the person has been infected”

There are also at home tests including one that can be reprogrammed to detect “any new virus that comes along”.

The reason I want to bring this information to your attention is that once again our MOH in BC has not been keeping up. Since the beginning of the pandemic only people with symptoms have been allowed to be tested. Since many people now need a clear test result in order to go to work or travel the only way to get that has been to lie convincingly about the right sort of symptoms. And of course quite a few people who are asymptomatic will know that they have been exposed and that people in their circles have been infected. They are supposed to simply self isolate until they develop symptoms and then get a test. Of course by that time they are shedding virus copiously.

In part the reluctance to test was due to Bonnie Henry casting doubts on the veracity of tests – especially fast ones. I am not any sort of scientist or a medical professional but I think I have learned enough from just this one book to understand that the policy of restricting tests was as misguided as the early reluctance to endorse masks and the more recent foolish gesture of “opening up” by ending the indoor mask mandate far too soon and then have to reintroduce it as the numbers of infected persons rose dramatically again. Phase three need not have happened at all, but our system has never tried to achieve zero COVID and continues to put the unvaccinated (these days mostly young children) at risk.

Free tests distributed by the feds largely go unused in BC

Written by Stephen Rees

August 25, 2021 at 2:42 pm

Posted in health

Tagged with ,

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