Sept. 14, 2021 — Every day, more than 140,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with COVID-19. No matter how curious they may be about the variants they are fighting, they will not find out.
The country is dotted with labs that sequence the genomes of COVID-19 cases, and the CDC tracks those results. Federal rules prohibit these results from being returned to patients or doctors.
This is not likely to change according to infectious disease and public health experts.
I know people want to find out — I’ve had many friends and family ask me how they can do it,” Aubree Gordon PhD, an epidemiology specialist at University of Michigan School of Public Health, says. It’s an interesting idea to know. It would be great to know. It is unlikely that it is necessary. There is no incentive to modify the rules .”
. The tests used are not approved under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments program. They can only be used for research.
Gordon states that scientists who sequence DNA rarely have patient information. The Lauring Lab at University of Michigan, run by Adam Lauring MD, focuses on viral mutation and currently tests variants. This is not for the benefit of the patient, nor the doctors treating it.
The samples have been identified and de-identified, Gordon states. This is for research purposes only. Researchers Do not share patient data But, as of right now, except for pure curiosity, there is no reason to change that, according to Timothy Brewer, MD. He is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and of Medicine.
There are new variants, including the Mu variant also known as B.1. 621, recently designated as a “variant in interest”, the Delta variant is responsible for approximately 99% U.S.
In addition, Brewer says, treatments are the same for all COVID-19 patients, regardless of the variant.
“There would need to be some clinical significance before there could be a reason to disclose this information,” he said. “That would mean that we would do something different depending on the variant. Currently, this is not true There is an exception that allows laboratories to release variant information. They can create their own tests. They must then go through lengthy validation to prove that their tests are as efficient as the gold standard. Mark Pandori PhD, director of Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.
But even with validation, it’s too costly and time-consuming to sequence large numbers, he said.
” The reason we don’t do it regularly is that there’s no way for us to do genomic analysis on all positives,” Pandori states. It costs $110 to sequence a sequence. It’s not like a PCR test
. Brewer states that there may be a scenario that warrants the release of these results: if a variant emerges which evades vaccinations.
” That would be a serious public health problem,” he said. “You want to ensure that there aren’t variants emerging elsewhere that are escaping immunity
For mor dWeb.News Health and Medical News at https://dweb.news/news-sections/health-medical-news/