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IOM Covid removing restrictions


Filippo

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Well, I'm glad I stayed out of that!

Surprised at Dr Glover really, she got a lot of support on here when she was getting fucked around by our government, and lots of people knew and pointed out at the time that it was partly because she was a women and chunks of the IoM gov don't like that.

Weird stuff.

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I had covid a couple of weeks ago, and rang 111, where they persuaded me to get a PCR test. They're still issuing those legal isolate notices, saying you mustn't leave your home for 10 days, not even for exercise, or you'll be fined £40,000. And they contact you to check. I'm sure a lot of people, who are more savvy, or less socially concious, than me, will think "sod that" and just sort it out themselves with a LFT from the chemist. Which will make the official numbers a huge under-estimate. And if the numbers aren't right, then what's the point?

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9 minutes ago, flaps said:

I had covid a couple of weeks ago, and rang 111, where they persuaded me to get a PCR test. They're still issuing those legal isolate notices, saying you mustn't leave your home for 10 days, not even for exercise, or you'll be fined £40,000. And they contact you to check. I'm sure a lot of people, who are more savvy, or less socially concious, than me, will think "sod that" and just sort it out themselves with a LFT from the chemist. Which will make the official numbers a huge under-estimate. And if the numbers aren't right, then what's the point?

Some serious professionals are asking the same thing. Paywall link https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/costly-pcr-tests-no-longer-needed-says-top-scientist-jdxnnkdxf

Costly PCR tests no longer needed, says top scientist

Britain’s mass PCR testing programme has become a “money-making exercise” for private laboratories and has outlived its usefulness, a leading scientist has said.

Professor Alan McNally, who helped to set up one of the first Lighthouse PCR testing labs, in Milton Keynes, said it was time to switch to the cheaper lateral flow tests, which people can do at home, for community testing.

“Why do we offer everyone who has a sniffle a PCR test for Covid? We have never done it for any other infectious disease,” he said. “Last March we absolutely needed it because it was the only way we were going to get ahead of transmission. Today the playing field has totally changed.”

The UK tests more than almost any other country, with about 400,000 PCR tests carried out every day. It is considered the “gold standard” test but each one costs more than ten times a lateral flow.

McNally, professor in microbial genomics at the University of Birmingham, said this was no longer reasonable. “The sheer cost and expense of offering a PCR for anyone with symptoms doesn’t make sense,” he said. “We have lateral flow devices that if you are symptomatic can tell you if you have Covid or not. That money could be better spent on supporting people to isolate if they are positive.”

 

PCR tests look for the genetic signature of the virus and are a standard laboratory tool that can be tuned to any infection. Lateral flow tests had to be developed especially, which took time. When they were first put into use, their efficacy was not clear. Scientists now believe that they have a false positive rate of 1 in 1,000 or less.

Where they differ from PCRs is that they have a higher false negative rate, meaning they are more likely to tell people they don’t have Covid-19 when they do. This was why many scientists were concerned about using them. But the chance of a false negative is greatly diminished if someone is symptomatic. “In reality, they are good enough,” McNally said. “If you wake up in the morning with a headache, a cough, a fever, then a lateral flow is going to tell you if you have Covid or not.”

Not all scientists agree. Sheila Bird, from the MRC Biostatistics unit in Cambridge, said PCRs had the advantage of being able to identify infections earlier than a lateral flow. This means that if someone’s contacts are asked to have a test, the PCR is less likely to miss those who are pre-symptomatic. Bird said: “A lateral flow test that gives you the answer quickly and gives you pretty well an accurate answer is of course your dream come true. What we currently have doesn’t quite live up to that.”

Of all the scientific arguments there have been in the pandemic, and there has been no shortage, the ones around lateral flow tests have been among the most furious — and, for those not involved, most baffling (Tom Whipple writes).

With the suggestion that lateral flow tests could replace PCRs entirely in community testing, another front has been opened.

At issue is not merely how well lateral flows work but what “work” even means.

PCR tests, of the kind used in laboratories since the start of the pandemic, are a superb tool. They search for coronavirus genes, and if they are present in a sample, they will tell you. So sensitive are PCR machines that they will find these genes before you know you are sick — and continue to do so for some time after you have been sick.

The reason PCR tests were those used first is not so much because they are the best though, but because the machines that perform them are basic research tools in laboratories around the country. If a new virus turned up tomorrow, then we could simply give these machines its code instead and our testing labs could find that virus too.

Lateral flow tests are different. They have to be designed afresh when a new virus appears. Doing so involves finding a way to detect the proteins on the virus surface, and then producing a bespoke test for those “antigens”. This meant that lateral flows took time to develop for coronavirus and when they were first rolled out no one knew for certain how good they were.

The good news is, they are very good indeed. It is now clear that lateral flows have a very low false positive rate — of about 1 in 1,000 or less. If they tell you you are positive then, with the current viral prevalence, you almost certainly are.

What is less clear is what their false negative rate is. How many people who have Covid do they miss? There is no single answer.

“I could say to you that the test has 40 per cent, 70 per cent and 95 per cent accuracy,” said Dr Alexander Edwards, Associate Professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading. “Each would be true. But it doesn’t help you in the slightest if you don’t know how to interpret it.”

The problem comes in part in defining what being Covid positive is. According to a PCR, someone who has got over their illness but still has residual genetic material in their nose is positive. If the comparison group includes them, rather than just symptomatic people, then the false negative rate will be worryingly high. But if the goal is to identify people who are infectious, why do we care?

This is the argument of, in Edwards’ words, the “lateral flow fans”. Lateral flows might miss some people, but they pick up the ones that matter — the ones that pass it on. What’s more, with a disease where every hour counts in stopping spread, you get the answer immediately.

He doesn’t completely buy it. “People have tried to make the argument that with the people it misses, who’ve got very low levels of virus, there’s nothing to worry about — that it’s unnecessary to detect them anyway. And I think that’s just not true.”

Indeed, it was the fear that people would be given the all clear who were in fact infectious that led to many of the rows when lateral flows were first introduced.

In proposing that it is now time to take the PCR test out of the community, and rely on lateral flows instead, Professor McNally is not arguing that they are perfect — or that there will be no false negatives. He is simply arguing that they would do the job, especially when those going for the tests will typically have symptoms. Some scientists still disagree.

The question they are debating is not, though, are they as “good” as PCR? That question is unanswerable. The question is, at this stage in the pandemic, are they good enough?

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18 minutes ago, TheTeapot said:

Some serious professionals are asking the same thing. Paywall link https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/costly-pcr-tests-no-longer-needed-says-top-scientist-jdxnnkdxf

Costly PCR tests no longer needed, says top scientist

Britain’s mass PCR testing programme has become a “money-making exercise” for private laboratories and has outlived its usefulness, a leading scientist has said.

Professor Alan McNally, who helped to set up one of the first Lighthouse PCR testing labs, in Milton Keynes, said it was time to switch to the cheaper lateral flow tests, which people can do at home, for community testing.

“Why do we offer everyone who has a sniffle a PCR test for Covid? We have never done it for any other infectious disease,” he said. “Last March we absolutely needed it because it was the only way we were going to get ahead of transmission. Today the playing field has totally changed.”

The UK tests more than almost any other country, with about 400,000 PCR tests carried out every day. It is considered the “gold standard” test but each one costs more than ten times a lateral flow.

McNally, professor in microbial genomics at the University of Birmingham, said this was no longer reasonable. “The sheer cost and expense of offering a PCR for anyone with symptoms doesn’t make sense,” he said. “We have lateral flow devices that if you are symptomatic can tell you if you have Covid or not. That money could be better spent on supporting people to isolate if they are positive.”

 

PCR tests look for the genetic signature of the virus and are a standard laboratory tool that can be tuned to any infection. Lateral flow tests had to be developed especially, which took time. When they were first put into use, their efficacy was not clear. Scientists now believe that they have a false positive rate of 1 in 1,000 or less.

Where they differ from PCRs is that they have a higher false negative rate, meaning they are more likely to tell people they don’t have Covid-19 when they do. This was why many scientists were concerned about using them. But the chance of a false negative is greatly diminished if someone is symptomatic. “In reality, they are good enough,” McNally said. “If you wake up in the morning with a headache, a cough, a fever, then a lateral flow is going to tell you if you have Covid or not.”

Not all scientists agree. Sheila Bird, from the MRC Biostatistics unit in Cambridge, said PCRs had the advantage of being able to identify infections earlier than a lateral flow. This means that if someone’s contacts are asked to have a test, the PCR is less likely to miss those who are pre-symptomatic. Bird said: “A lateral flow test that gives you the answer quickly and gives you pretty well an accurate answer is of course your dream come true. What we currently have doesn’t quite live up to that.”

Of all the scientific arguments there have been in the pandemic, and there has been no shortage, the ones around lateral flow tests have been among the most furious — and, for those not involved, most baffling (Tom Whipple writes).

With the suggestion that lateral flow tests could replace PCRs entirely in community testing, another front has been opened.

At issue is not merely how well lateral flows work but what “work” even means.

PCR tests, of the kind used in laboratories since the start of the pandemic, are a superb tool. They search for coronavirus genes, and if they are present in a sample, they will tell you. So sensitive are PCR machines that they will find these genes before you know you are sick — and continue to do so for some time after you have been sick.

The reason PCR tests were those used first is not so much because they are the best though, but because the machines that perform them are basic research tools in laboratories around the country. If a new virus turned up tomorrow, then we could simply give these machines its code instead and our testing labs could find that virus too.

Lateral flow tests are different. They have to be designed afresh when a new virus appears. Doing so involves finding a way to detect the proteins on the virus surface, and then producing a bespoke test for those “antigens”. This meant that lateral flows took time to develop for coronavirus and when they were first rolled out no one knew for certain how good they were.

The good news is, they are very good indeed. It is now clear that lateral flows have a very low false positive rate — of about 1 in 1,000 or less. If they tell you you are positive then, with the current viral prevalence, you almost certainly are.

What is less clear is what their false negative rate is. How many people who have Covid do they miss? There is no single answer.

“I could say to you that the test has 40 per cent, 70 per cent and 95 per cent accuracy,” said Dr Alexander Edwards, Associate Professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading. “Each would be true. But it doesn’t help you in the slightest if you don’t know how to interpret it.”

The problem comes in part in defining what being Covid positive is. According to a PCR, someone who has got over their illness but still has residual genetic material in their nose is positive. If the comparison group includes them, rather than just symptomatic people, then the false negative rate will be worryingly high. But if the goal is to identify people who are infectious, why do we care?

This is the argument of, in Edwards’ words, the “lateral flow fans”. Lateral flows might miss some people, but they pick up the ones that matter — the ones that pass it on. What’s more, with a disease where every hour counts in stopping spread, you get the answer immediately.

He doesn’t completely buy it. “People have tried to make the argument that with the people it misses, who’ve got very low levels of virus, there’s nothing to worry about — that it’s unnecessary to detect them anyway. And I think that’s just not true.”

Indeed, it was the fear that people would be given the all clear who were in fact infectious that led to many of the rows when lateral flows were first introduced.

In proposing that it is now time to take the PCR test out of the community, and rely on lateral flows instead, Professor McNally is not arguing that they are perfect — or that there will be no false negatives. He is simply arguing that they would do the job, especially when those going for the tests will typically have symptoms. Some scientists still disagree.

The question they are debating is not, though, are they as “good” as PCR? That question is unanswerable. The question is, at this stage in the pandemic, are they good enough?

Its pretty irrelevant what his or other professionals feel about it because the public are vot with their feet & doing LFDs if symptomatic. It would be far better for us to accept that & set up a system that allows people to report their results as it would give a slightly improved set of figures for surveillance. We do surveillance for many diseases including flu

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6 minutes ago, The Voice of Reason said:

I said she was a wrong ‘un from the start. But did anyone listen? 
 

Much as I really can’t abide Ashford I’d say it’s becoming quite obvious why nobody in government could work with her. She seems to be unbelievably narcissistic and attention seeking. Those claims of sexist behaviour where there absolutely was none last night were just looking for sympathy and victim claiming. Nothing else. I see she’s now claiming on Twitter that she’s being gaslighted by certain people which again is basically more inflammatory attention seeking language. 

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3 hours ago, momo65 said:

Its pretty irrelevant what his or other professionals feel about it because the public are vot with their feet & doing LFDs if symptomatic. It would be far better for us to accept that & set up a system that allows people to report their results as it would give a slightly improved set of figures for surveillance. We do surveillance for many diseases including flu

The point, once again, is that its not just' people who are bored with it all' who think that we're doing things wrong, now, post-vaccination. It's like I raised in the thread about the LFDs, what exactly is the point of dragging yourself up to the grandstand from Port Erin if you've got a cold and have tested positive? The answer is zero, unless your mind is still in 2020.

 

Edited by TheTeapot
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1 hour ago, flaps said:

I had covid a couple of weeks ago, and rang 111, where they persuaded me to get a PCR test. They're still issuing those legal isolate notices, saying you mustn't leave your home for 10 days, not even for exercise, or you'll be fined £40,000. And they contact you to check. I'm sure a lot of people, who are more savvy, or less socially concious, than me, will think "sod that" and just sort it out themselves with a LFT from the chemist. Which will make the official numbers a huge under-estimate. And if the numbers aren't right, then what's the point?

Well that is effectively what we did when our child caught Covid. When she had tested positive on a LFT we thought what is the point of the PCR. It is not pleasant and only tells us what we already know. An LFT is not likely to give a false positive and she had symptoms. We also tested kept testing her though the 10 day period until she stopped testing positive. During that time we kept her in the house isolated as best we could and contacted those she had been in recent contact with.

I am sure that loads are doing the same unless they need a positive PCR result for their employer etc.

Edited by Lost Login
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27 minutes ago, TheTeapot said:

what exactly is the point of dragging yourself up to the grandstand from Port Erin if you've got a cold and have tested positive?

Keeps government workers and civil servants in a job/makes them look busy and important. 

 

Just like with the border checks. All totally pointless but it fulfills the government's  love of bureaucracy.

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10 minutes ago, James Blonde said:

Just like with the border checks. All totally pointless but it fulfills the government's  love of bureaucracy.

You might want to look at which government department the border checkers now work in.

 

18 minutes ago, Lost Login said:

I am sure that loads are doing the same unless they need a positive PCR result for their employer etc.

That's the only use, to get you signed off for work.

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