Coronavirus: Concern over Boris Johnson’s ‘monoshot’ test plans


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Scientists and health professionals have raised doubts about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “Operation Moonshot” plan for large-scale coronovirus testing.

The PM hopes that millions of Kovid-19 tests – which include results within minutes – can be processed daily.

But experts say there are issues with the lab’s ability to present tests, while the technology for more rapid testing “, does not yet exist”.

The British Medical Journal says the scheme may cost £ 100bn, as the leaked memo shows.

Following his announcement that the gatherings in England are to be banned from Monday for six people, Mr Johnson said the government was “working hard” to increase the capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

And he said that “in the near future” he wanted to “start using the test” to identify those who are negative – those who do not have coronovirus and those who are not contagious – so we treat them in a more general way Can be allowed to do, etc. Knowledge they cannot infect anyone else ”.

  • What are the new rules?
  • UK coronavirus cases rose to 2,659 on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson said: “We believe that new types of tests that are simple, quick and scalable will become available. They use swabs or saliva and can change round results in 90 or 20 minutes.

“Crucially, it is possible to deploy these tests on a much larger scale than any other country has yet to achieve – literally millions of tests done every single day. ”

Mr Johnson said a mass-testing program could be ready by spring and help Britain avoid a second national lockdown.

But the President of the Council of the British Medical Association, Dr. Chand Nagpal said it was unclear how the so-called Operation Moonshot would work – which is currently seen with lab capacity, given the “huge problems”.

‘Flavored’ strategy

Currently, between 150,000 and 200,000 tests are processed each day – but the test capacity is reported to be 350,000 per day. It includes antibody tests and is used to estimate how widespread the virus is.

Earlier this week a director of the Government’s Testing and Trace Program in England issued a “heartfelt” apology for problems with the testing system, explaining that the labs, not the testing sites themselves, were “critical pinch-points”.

Dr. Nagpal said that the idea of ​​opening a society based on people testing negative for the virus should be “approached with caution” due to its high rate of “false negatives” and its ability to recall people who provoke the virus.

Dr. David Strain, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Exeter and chairman of the BMA’s Medical Academic Staff Committee, discussed the technology.

“The strategy of large-scale testing is fundamentally flawed, in that it is based on technology that does not yet exist,” he said.

“The Prime Minister suggests that it would be as simple as ‘getting a pregnancy test’ which will give results within 15 minutes, if not impossible, within the timeframe he was suggesting to get the country back on track.”

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Media captionThe Prime Minister said the new measures were “not another national lockout”

According to a report, at a cost of over £ 100 million across the entire annual budget for NHS England, the UK eventually plans to test 10 million Kovid-19s a day early next year. BMJ

The new rapid trials will begin from next month with spectators attending indoor and outdoor venues in Salford.

The government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Valence, said the technique needed to be “carefully tested” and that it was “completely wrong to assume that it is a slam sting”.

Plans for large-scale testing come as Mr Johnson said Britain should avoid another lockout as virus cases are rising in England.

After reporting more than 2,000 new coronovirus cases in Britain for the fourth consecutive day, they implemented a new “rule” in England that banned the gathering of a maximum of six people, with police able to issue fines or make arrests. Make.

A new law would also require businesses such as pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and the cinema to record customer contact details. These details will be kept for 21 days and can be shared with the NHS Test and Trace if there is an outbreak at the event site.

Meanwhile, the government has published its coronovirus guidance for universities ahead of returning students later this month, which states that more than six gatherings are allowed when necessary for work purposes.

The new “rule of six” means:

  • The law will not allow social gatherings of more than six people in England from Monday 14 September
  • The new rule applies to people in private homes, indoors and outdoors, and in places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and public places
  • It applies to all ages
  • The rule does not apply to schools and workplaces, to people living together or in the same support bubble, or to weddings, funerals and organized team games.
  • The full list of exemptions also includes protests and political activities subject to “strict risk assessments”, jury service and emergency assistance.
  • Those who ignore the police can be fined £ 100 – with each offense up to a maximum of £ 3,200