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Overlooked Expertise

Dozens of virologists in the UK say they have been pushed aside in COVID-19 response discussions, including the announcement earlier this week on implementing rapid testing, the Guardian reports

According to the Guardian, scientists from the UK Clinical Virology Network write in a letter to England's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, that they are concerned about the "lack of engagement by policymakers with clinical virology expertise in the UK in the management of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 pandemic)."

The letter-writers say it appears some pandemic response decisions have been made on ideological grounds, and that mistakes were made when there was no consultation with clinical virologists. The Guardian notes that the UK government bought antibody tests that did not work well and set up public and private testing centers, but that data from those centers couldn't be transferred to the National Health Service or public health authorities.

As the Guardian notes, this lack of consultation extends to the announcement this week that the UK government would be rolling out tests from DnaNudge and Oxford Nanopore that can give results on SARS-CoV-2, flu, and other respiratory infections within 90 minutes. At the time, the Guardian reported there was little published data on how the tests worked.