‘Fit for a purpose’: Deputy CMO defends coin-toss accurate COVID-19 tests
COVID-19 tests purchased by the government have been found to be inaccurate, but the Deputy Chief Medical Officer says buying them was the “right decision”.
The federal government is under fire after more than a million serologic antibody tests bought and approved by the government were found to be about as accurate as a coin toss.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told Deborah Knight the tests were bought long before more accurate means of testing were widely available.
“We made the right decision at that time to purchase these serology tests.”
Professor Kelly admitted the tests are “not that helpful” “for diagnosis of acute illness,” but argues they have their own advantages, such as surveillance of COVID-19 among people with few or no symptoms.
“The problem with it is that it tests antibody responses.
“It takes us some time to develop antibodies to a virus, and in this case … it’s likely that tests would be negative for the first week or two after developing the illness.
“It’s fit for a purpose, this test, but it’s not fit for the purpose of diagnosing people when they first get sick.”
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