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Will COVID tests need to be fixed as more vaccinations become available?

For most pandemics The sharp sensitivity of initial testing for COVID-19 has been a blessing, as it detects a small number of the virus that can spread quietly. among those who may not feel sick

But when more people get vaccinated The sensitivity of the test raises questions among health professionals whether the results should be reviewed more critically. When people who have been immunized for asymptomatic diseases are diagnosed with COVID-19 Is that person a real threat of spreading the virus, or is it just fighting it and keeping it too low to infect?

Kevin Miller caught in the midst of an unfortunate debate. And it cost him the most precious time of his high school.

Los high school students Gatos jumped at the chance to vaccinate. His last dose was on Feb. 27 so he could go back to university and play basketball with the varsity team as quickly as possible without worrying about the virus, but May 5, almost 1

0 weeks later. Come, the seemingly impossible happened. The tests required before his game came back positive.

“I have no reason to believe I have it,” said 18-year-old Miller. “I have never felt sick. Never tested positive again. No one on the team tested positive.”

Despite three negative results later, health officials and local schools said they were forced to take safety measures. It required Miller and dozens of other infected team members and classmates to self-isolate for a week. Lack of classes and playing one-on-one games and almost caused them to leave attend their senior prom

Kevin’s mother, Dana Miller, said: “It feels like in this situation you can’t do any of these things.

Justin Miller, Kevin’s parents. Miller of Los Gatos High School (left) and Dana Miller (Daisugano/Bay Area News Group).

Some health officials say testing should not be necessary, said Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California-San Francisco. Vaccinated people who don’t feel sick may still be encouraged to test positive for COVID-19 as their bodies fight the virus. But there is no risk of infecting others, said Dr Monica Gandhi of the University of California-San Francisco, who studied the safety of the virus in schools.

“I think we need to change the definition of infection at this point,” Gandhi said.

It is a situation that tends to occur more often as more people become immune. and schools and businesses will be fully reopened with the goal of preventing the spread Although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend COVID-19 testing for people vaccinated without symptoms. But there are also situations such as sporting events where players are screened for the virus.

This isn’t the first time an athlete who has been fully vaccinated has tested positive for COVID-19. positive with no symptoms of disease and was forced to detain during the same period last month Nine New York Yankees baseball team members who have been fully vaccinated have tested positive for the virus. including shortstop star Gleyber Torres

Only two reported mild symptoms. While Torres and the others were asymptomatic, they were all forced to quarantine. Major League Baseball requires two negative COVID-19 tests to bring the vaccine out of quarantine 10 days ahead of schedule.

The CDC considers testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes disease in individuals at least two weeks after their final vaccine dose of “progressive” infection, a recent CDC study. It’s called “extremely rare” – only 0.01% of Americans who received the full vaccine this year tested positive, with 27% of them showing no symptoms.

How accurate is the COVID-19 test? Polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, a test commonly used to confirm COVID-19 is considered highly accurate to a point.

If the infection has not progressed much when people was wiped off may not have a positive effect Therefore, health officials warn that a negative test result does not prove a person is free from coronavirus. They also considered a highly unlikely false positive. unless the sample is contaminated Some viruses must exist.

Does the test determine the severity of the infection and the contagion? Many experts argue that so.

A PCR test analyzes a sample by amplifying viral RNA or genetic material. It typically has 40 cycles of amplification. If the virus is detected in 40 cycles or less, it is considered positive. The longer it takes to detect the virus The more there is less. A test that found the virus in 20 cycles indicates that the viral load in a patient is much higher over 40 cycles. Patients with a high viral load are more contagious. while the viral load is low, it is not necessary to infect It’s not clear how much Kevin Miller’s viral load is with his positive test.

before vaccination Patients with low viral loads may be presumed to become more infected as the illness progresses. but for vaccination Low viral load that provokes a positive test in individuals who feel asymptomatic It may indicate that the vaccine is working.

“It shows the effectiveness of the vaccine in fighting the virus in your nose,” Gandhi said. She argues that cases like Miller’s or Yankees “are not truly positive tests — they are vaccines that work!”

She’s not the only health expert urging health agencies to reconsider how to reevaluate PCR testing for vaccinations. After the Yankees outbreak, Harvard University epidemiologist Michael Mina argued in New York Magazine that the term progressive should be reserved for vaccinated people who are sick. He noted that effective vaccines are generally not. “Complete sterilization” which kills all viruses instantly.

But other experts say they still need to be cautious.

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