by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Since the Coronavirus outbreak has started, one of the most controversial topics has surrounded testing.
How does one know if they have the COVID-19 virus? And if someone is sick, or someone dies, is testing “positive” for COVID-19 proof that the person died from it?
But one aspect that is seldom talked about is the accuracy of the tests themselves. When one watches the corporate-sponsored “mainstream” media news, they all seem to just assume that these tests are always accurate, and therefore the numbers they publish in terms of those affected or those who die are assumed to be accurate.
This week (April 2020), the CEO of the drug company Roche, Severin Schwan, was quoted in a Reuters’ news article  as saying that new antibody tests for COVID-19 were “a disaster.”
Fierce Biotech , one of the trade publications for the pharmaceutical industry, published an article on Schwan’s comments.
The current state of antibody testing for COVID-19 is “a disaster,” said Roche CEO Severin Schwan, as a large number of potentially inaccurate tests enter the market fueled by sky-high demand.
Many countries are seeking serology tests to better understand whether people are developing a possible immunity to the novel coronavirus. But reports detailing high rates of false-positive and false-negative results are delaying widespread screening.
“These tests are not worth anything, or have very little use,” Schwan said during an early Wednesday conference call regarding the company’s first-quarter earnings, according to Reuters.
“Some of these companies, I tell you, this is ethically very questionable to get out with this stuff,” he said, adding that Roche analyzed several products currently on the market and found them to be unreliable.
“Every kind of amateur could produce an antibody test,” he said. “The two of us could do it overnight in the garage.”
Roche is currently developing its own antibody test, set to launch in early May… (Read the full article here .)
Once again, the infighting among pharmaceutical companies to cash in on massive funding for coronavirus products, gives us a glimpse into what is actually happening, if one is willing to turn off their TV long enough to search other sources of information.
There is massive money being spent on COVID-19 testing, and these “antibody” tests are the next new round of products Big Pharma wants to cash in on.
Antibody testing allows one to theoretically see who may have had the Coronavirus but have now recovered from illness caused by COVID-19, where a person’s own immune system has developed antibodies to fight against it.
Such knowledge is key to developing new drugs, including vaccines.
But it is also a double-edged sword for the pharmaceutical industry, because if many people test positive for antibodies with no apparent illness or actual COVID-19 virus present, then it could drastically reduce the death rates that have been reported, and also lower the cost-to-risk ratio for pharmaceutical companies to develop these products if the general public is developing antibodies without the help of pharmaceutical products.
That is exactly what is apparently happening in New York, where the public has been told that the death rate from COVID-19 in New York has been around 7.4%.
But Governor Cuomo has just released results from the State’s first round of antibody testing, and he is reporting that based on these results, the actual death rate is much lower, less than 1%.
As CNBC reports :
“What we found so far is that the statewide number is 13.9% tested positive for having the antibodies,” (Cuomo) said. “They were infected three weeks ago, four weeks ago, five weeks ago, six weeks ago, but they had the virus, they developed the antibodies and they are now recovered.”
The state’s mortality rates remains persistently high, at 7.4% with at least 19,453 fatalities and 263,754 confirmed cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The antibody testing indicates that the actual death rate is far lower, less than 1%, Cuomo said. (Full article here .)
So at this point, the answer to the following questions, based on research that is not filtered through the corporate “mainstream” media, is basically: “Nobody really knows.”
- How many people are infected with COVID-19?
- How many people are dying from COVID-19?
- Which tests can we trust to give us accurate data?
- Have the measures the U.S. Government taken, and States taken, reduced our risk for COVID-19?
Copyright 2020 – Health Impact News. Permission granted to republish in full, with links back to Health Impact News as the source, and author credit kept in tact.