Home Immunity Disease expert says COVID testing isn’t as important as immunity

Disease expert says COVID testing isn’t as important as immunity

0

A program to order free COVID-19 tests from the federal government was suspended on Friday as funding for the program ended. But an infectious disease expert says mass testing isn’t as necessary as immunity.

A program to order free COVID-19 tests from the federal government was suspended on Friday as funding for the program ended. But an infectious disease expert says mass testing isn’t as necessary as immunity.

“Most experts have, at this point, said mass testing is unlikely to make a difference,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician and professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Francis. “It’s not as important to collect data on mass testing, as it was in the beginning.”



She said he should stay home if he had symptoms of COVID, but public health’s focus, at this point, is on immunity.

“Before that, we had to do mass testing because we had no immunity. We had no vaccine, our elderly populations were at high risk of getting sick,” Gandhi told OMCP.

“After vaccines, the whole point is to try to give us, not an external way to protect ourselves – like a mask or a test – but an internal way, which is immunity,” she said. declared.

“And that’s what we get. We get it from a natural infection. We get it through safer vaccination.

She says, especially for older people, the best next step is to get the new boosters that target omicron BA. 5 and BA. 4 variants to maintain immunity.

On Thursday, the CDC approved the updated boosters which they say will provide immunity against the omicron strain, which is the dominant strain circulating in the world.

“Our old boosters are directed against what we called the ancestral or original strain, sometimes called the Wuhan-Hu-1 strain. That strain is gone,” Dr. Gandhi said.

The CDC said that because they are obsolete, old vaccines will no longer be given as a booster. They will always be used for the initial dose.

“We don’t have any clinical data on these boosters because the FDA said, ‘You don’t need to give me clinical data. Just tell me if the antibodies are increased, if you give a booster BA 5 “, she said. “So they did studies in mice and the BA 5 antibodies are very high.

Gandhi said people over the age of 60 are most at risk of serious illnesses and still benefit the most from these boosters.

“Older people always, in infectious diseases, need reminders, need more protection,” she said. “So I would focus on that population over 60.”

She pointed to a recent study that shows 80% of American children have been infected with COVID at least once.

“They don’t need boosters over and over again because they have a young immune system,” Dr. Ghandi said.

The Washington, DC Department of Health said omicron boosters and the seasonal flu vaccine will be available Sept. 7 at COVID centers across the city.

In Maryland, the new omicron-focused boosters are already positioned statewide for deployment after Labor Day.

Virginia has ordered 141,700 doses of the new vaccines that will be shipped to local health districts. Residents can enroll at Vaccinate.Virginia.gov, contact their call center at 877-829-4682, or ask their health care provider.