- Robert Lanciotti, chief of the CDC labs, just blew the whistle on a new test to detect Zika.
- Apparently, the test misses 40 percent of Zika infections.
- The commotion caused an internal investigation by the CDC.
- The report, which was sent to the White House and Congress, said they are trying to greatly improve testing.
In recent months the topic of Zika has flourished. With the rise in cases, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has their hands full. Yet, the hardest question still remains to be, “What's the best way to test whether someone is infected.”
Not only is it the hardest question, it also remains to be a hot buttoned debate topic for employees of the CDC. Robert Lanciotti, chief of the CDC lab, is responsible for developing tests to diagnose disease. However, he was demoted back in May. Why? For voicing concern about a new test for Zika the CDC pushed out over the Spring. The problem is the test misses about 40 percent of Zika infections and is impressively less effective than other established tests. He also claimed that the agency withheld information from state and local public health labs about testing differences.
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Yet, Lanciotti's claims were enough to get the CDC to conduct an internal investigation. A copy of the investigation was sent to the White House and Congress.
They did not take full responsibility for their faults in the report, however, they did acknowledge that Zika testing procedures are difficult and need improving. It also said that they had already made improvements to the test. The investigation also came to the conclusion that the CDC acted responsibly by withholding test information. The report said, “considerable confusion during an ongoing emergency response.”
Of course, their reasoning behind the quick and unsatisfactory test results was the lack of funding for research. Apparently, the CDC has requested “emergency funding” to develop better tests but the funding continues to get held up in Congress.
The problem with determining whether someone is infected with Zika or not is the fact that they show no symptoms. It's almost an invisible virus.
The CDC is continuing to improve their efforts to get this virus under control. Let's just hope they use the right test this time.
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