General, Research, Technology

What's wrong with coronavirus tests?

As alarming as it may seem, the world is used toto the coronavirus. Lockdowns, mask mode, working remotely and sometimes empty city streets have become part of everyday life. But getting used to a pandemic does not make Covid-19 any less dangerous. Moreover, WHO experts warn that the worst is yet to come. Today, one of the main issues around the world (besides the development of a vaccine) is our ability to identify the infected, which is why mass testing and the quality of tests for coronavirus are of concern not only to scientists. So, in an interview with Wired, public figure, billionaire and philanthropist Tony Stark Bill Gates expressed concern about the quality of tests that detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the body. But why? Let's figure it out!

Today, many demonize Gates, accusing him ofdeliberate chipping of the population (that's just how?) and at the same time all mortal sins. We tell you why the American billionaire is really good and not at all reptilian

Coronavirus tests

Diagnostic test for novel coronavirusAn infection is commonly known as a molecular PCR test, in which a doctor takes a swab from a patient's throat, taking samples of cells and fluids from a person's respiratory tract. The test, writes the British health.ucdavis.edu, identifies genes specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It should be noted that in different laboratories different requirements are put forward for the delivery of biomaterial - in one, experts recommend not eating or drinking three hours before testing, and in another, patients are asked not to consume alcohol for 24 hours. The cost of the test varies from 1900 rubles to 7000 rubles and more.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR test) Is a method used in molecularbiology. With PCR testing, researchers can achieve significant increases in low concentrations of certain nucleic acid fragments in biological material.

However, some experts express doubts about the accuracy of the test results, also rightly pointing out that The PCR test is not available to everyone. In Russia, the testing situation is getting more complicatedand the fact that the results have to wait a long time. At the same time, according to the TASS news agency, the total number of coronavirus tests conducted in our country exceeded 31 million.

Laboratory employee will check the results of PCR tests for coronavirus

Problems with PCR tests

As told in an interview with Wired, one ofMicrosoft creators Bill Gates, testing for coronavirus in the United States turned out to be "bad work" from which there is really little benefit, because the test results have to wait a long time. Most Americans wait days, and sometimes weeks, to receive their COVID-19 test results. The same situation is observed in Russia. Gates believes the situation can be improved if the US government refuses to pay large labs for any results that take more than two days. But according to the billionaire, the government does not listen to him.

At the same time, the situation with the newcoronavirus in the world remains alarming. This is especially the case for those countries that were hit hardest by the outbreak during the first wave. So, at the time of this writing, according to the John Hopkins University website, the United States ranks first in the world in the number of detected cases of Covid-19.

Screenshot of Johns Hopkins University website on August 12, 2020

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In an interview with Wired editor Stephen Levy Gatestalked about testing companies that "rake in huge sums while providing low-quality services." The inventor is convinced that the government should end the enrichment of the testing companies and only pay them if the test results are available within 48 hours. Levy notes that there is a note of annoyance in Bill's voice when he talks about the mistakes made by the US government that resulted in the largest outbreak in the world, with more than 5 million infections and 163,000 deaths. Gates also talked about his proposal to create a new website for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that would simplify test results and monitoring, but his proposal was ignored.

According to Gizmodo, the reimbursement rate forCovid-19 tests are set by the federal government at US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and are overseen by Trump's appointee Sima Verma. Needless to say, no one is considering Gates' proposals. At the same time The United States is the only country in the world that spends the most money on tests.

See also: Russian coronavirus vaccine: everything you need to know

Bill Gates and conspiracy theories

Gates famously warned of the threatpandemic during a speech at TED Talks back in 2015 and promised to spend approximately $ 1 ($ 1.4) billion on vaccine research, with about $ 100 ($ 140) million of which will go to the fight against the new coronavirus. I would like to note that the American businessman was guided exclusively by the opinion of scientists, who had been predicting the world a new outbreak of a dangerous infectious disease for many years.

But the Earth is full of rumors and conspiracy theories aboutco-founder of Microsoft are widely used on the Internet. Moreover, many seriously argue that Gates is driven by ulterior motives, including the desire to profit from the vaccine - which in fact simply does not make sense, since he is investing in development and does not receive financial benefits from its implementation. The strangest conspiracy theory, however, is that Gates wants to massively chip the planet's population in order to (of course) implant tracking devices in humans. I wrote in this article about why conspiracy theories about coronavirus are so ridiculous.

This is what a test for antibodies to covid-19 looks like. Note that the antibody test looks for evidence of the body's immune response to the virus. However, in the case of the new coronavirus infection, scientists do not fully understand what the presence of antibodies to SAS-CoV-2 in the blood means.

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In general, when it comes to PCR testing anddeveloping a vaccine against the new coronavirus, it is important to understand that technology does not exist in a vacuum, and many people still do not understand the importance of political decisions during a pandemic. Gates believes, and it's hard to disagree with him, that first you need to find political solutions to important issues and only then introduce technologies that can change something.

However, at the moment the situation is both withtesting and developing a vaccine is more like a competition "who is faster and smarter", which is covertly waged by world leaders. Meanwhile, the world is on the verge of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which - as history has shown - has traditionally claimed many more lives than the first. Therefore, take care of yourself and your loved ones and do not forget to wash your hands thoroughly, observe the mask regime and social distancing measures. After all, the coronavirus hasn't gone anywhere. At least for now.