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Boris Johnson is a charlatan. I am sure that his advisors have been leant upon to give the answers he wants. But I do not understand why a Professor John Edmunds, Professor of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene should compromise himself so much as to appear inflexible, ideological and dogmatic. This interview from Channel 4, conducted by Matt Frei is very revealing. In It Edmunds is extremely confident that he has all the answers. The preferred solution is to hurry up ‘herd’ immunity’ by not being too proactive about slowing down the inevitable explosion of cases (this is contrary to the evidence of how China controlled this explosion). Simplistically, he thinks that slowing down this epidemic, far from giving the NHS more time to cope, will only prolong the agony. It seems to me that this is the line of thought that best tallies with the Government’s approach. The cull of the weak and elderly can then silently proceed, whilst the strong will become immune. The recorded number of cases will of course fall because we are not going to be testing except high risk cases in hospitals. This is a total abrogation of professional responsibility which should be pushing for testing, testing, testing and also for prevention at all cost. I wonder how long it will take for medical professionals to wake up to Prof Edmund’s flawed reasoning.
OK I may be too harsh on the professor, but he has shown no indication that he may be wrong, or that there are other ways of looking at this problem.
Meanwhile, a company that provides laboratory diagnostic reagents in Northern Ireland called AMS UK (NI) Ltd has developed an antibody test to diagnose whether someone has been exposed to the virus which gives a result in 10 minutes. The test depends on developing antibodies to the virus and may therefore need to be repeated especially if the first test is negative and is dione early in the infection. The current widely used test is a PCR which is based on detecting the virus but it takes several hours to do. It would be interesting to see whether our Government and NHS will use this test which could give a better picture of who is infected and will stop the ostrich with head in sand attitude.