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Issue #35: Covid Testing Advances

Rodney B. Murray
May 1 · 4 min read

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. ― Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

I hope you are well and wearing masks whenever you venture outside. Warmer weather is around the corner. I can’t wait to do more hiking and riding — at a safe distance from others, of course.

This pandemic has generated an overwhelming amount of “breaking news,” including fake news, so beware. If you are familiar with the old newsroom adage, “If it bleeds, it leads,” you’ll note that good news about COVID-19 often gets buried. See why bad news dominates the headlines.

I’ve reduced my stress level by moderating my ingestion of COVID-19 news.

[N]ow is the time to consciously dial down bad news. … “It is vital to keep the true prevalence of the coronavirus in perspective,” Murphy said. “The vast majority of people will only ever experience coronavirus through the news media — few of us will actually contract the virus. So while the 24/7 media coverage may make it seem like the disease is omnipresent, we need to remember that it isn’t omnipresent in our lives.

Here I want you to forget the scary statistics and learn about the abundance of promising research and development that has been launched worldwide to combat this pandemic.

In this issue, I cover good news on the Covid-19 testing front.

South Korea says recovered coronavirus patients who tested positive again did not relapse

It’s no doubt that the U.S. is way behind the curve in providing testing for COVID-19. South Korea was one of the first countries to report the virus and quickly implemented widespread testing and contact tracing. However, one scary news story implied that the virus could reactivate or that patients could be reinfected!

More than 260 people who recovered and tested negative subsequently tested positive again. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worried that the virus had reactivated after going dormant.

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South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear on March 2. Credit: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Good News: Flaws in the testing process likely caused positive test results. The tests picked up dead virus fragments lingering after patients recovered, and the virus did not appear to be active. South Korea reported no new domestic infections in a day for the first time since February.

READ MORE

Potential Covid-19 test delivers results in less than 10 minutes

I haven’t been tested yet, but I know it must be incredibly stressful to wait up to a week or more to receive the results. Depending on your circumstances, by then, you may need to be tested again!

As COVID-19 cases spike, the need for faster, more accessible testing is clear. Due to limited availability, many patients with symptoms — and their physicians — are left wondering whether they have the virus. Even when patients do get a test, overwhelmed labs can take several days to get the results.

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Brett Etchebarne, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Photo: G.L. Kohuth:

Good News: The test created by Dr. Etchebarne is fast. His test can deliver results in five to seven minutes in the emergency room. The test can be done with a simple mouth swab, which would make the sample collection process faster and less uncomfortable.

READ MORE

First at-home COVID-19 testing kit authorized by the FDA

So far, you have to go to a hospital or drive through testing venue to be tested for COVID-19. In addition to the stress of uncertainty, you risk contracting the disease from areas where infected people congregate.

Around 147,000 COVID-19 tests are reported in the United States each day, which experts say is still far lower than the number of tests needed to bring the outbreak under control.

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Credit: Sylvain Lefevre / Getty Images

Good News: The FDA has issued the first authorization for an at-home COVID-19 test kit. People swab their nose to collect a fluid sample, but will still need to send it to a lab for testing. Self-sampling eliminates the need for a clinician to perform the test and frees up more personal protective equipment. LabCorp, the diagnostics company producing the tests, says it will give first access to health care workers and first responders.

READ MORE

Progress on COVID-19 testing is happening every day. I’m optimistic that we may soon have a home testing kit for the rest of us, and we might not even have to swab our nose. A recent study shows that saliva is a more sensitive alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs and could enable accurate large-scale testing.

Stay safe and stop reading all that BAD news!

Optimistically yours,
Dr. Rod Murray

P.S. To help me keep this newsletter ad-free, support me if you can:

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The GOOD NEWSletter

I scour the Internet for good news, so you don’t have to!

Rodney B. Murray

Written by

e-Learning executive, podcaster, pharmacologist, motorcyclist and militant optimist

The GOOD NEWSletter

I scour the Internet for good news, so you don’t have to! Sign up for the email newsletter at www.MilitantOptimist.com.

Rodney B. Murray

Written by

e-Learning executive, podcaster, pharmacologist, motorcyclist and militant optimist

The GOOD NEWSletter

I scour the Internet for good news, so you don’t have to! Sign up for the email newsletter at www.MilitantOptimist.com.

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