FRIDAY, Sept. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Yet another rapid COVID-19 test has proven its mettle in spotting infection with the new coronavirus, this time in a British study.
The lab-in-a-cartridge testing device — which can be performed at bedside, doesn’t require a laboratory, and can be performed in cartridges smaller than a mobile phone — was tested on 386 National Health Service staff and patients in Britain.
The test had 94% sensitivity and 100% specificity, meaning it had a high level of accuracy and produced very few false negatives and no false positives. The results are available within 90 minutes, while conventional COVID-19 tests provide results within 24 hours, the researchers said. The findings were published Sept. 17 in The Lancet Microbe journal.
In the United States, four rapid coronavirus tests have already been developed. These tests detect COVID-19 antigens, proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus, rather than the virus itself, according to the Associated Press. It’s considered a faster, but less precise, screening method.
One of these tests, made by Abbott Laboratories and called BinaxNOW, has already secured a $760 million deal with the White House to produce 150 million rapid nasal swab tests for community testing, according to the AP.
The 15-minute BinaxNOW test will sell for $5, giving it an edge over similar tests that need to be popped into a small machine, the AP reported. No larger than a credit card, the Abbott test is based on the same technology used to test for the flu, strep throat and other infections.
“Those [rapid] screening tests are what we need in schools, workplaces and nursing homes in order to catch asymptomatic spreaders,” Dr. Jonathan Quick, an adjunct professor of global health at Duke University in North Carolina, told the AP.
With the British test, a nose swab from a patient is inserted into the cartridge device, which analyzes the sample for genetic material belonging to SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The new test is being used at eight London hospitals, and is due to be rolled out at a national level. The U.K. government recently placed an order for 5.8 million of the testing kits.
“These results suggest the test, which can be performed at a patient’s bedside without the need to handle any sample material, has comparable accuracy to standard laboratory testing,” said study author Graham Cooke. He is a professor in the department of infectious disease at Imperial College London.
“Many tests involve a trade-off between speed and accuracy, but this test manages to achieve both,” Cooke said in a college news release.
The test — made by DnaNudge, an Imperial College London start-up — is now being developed to simultaneously check for COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, the researchers added.
Chris Toumazou is CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge and founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London. He said, “The DnaNudge test was developed as a lab-free, on-the-spot consumer service that can be delivered at scale, so we clearly believe it offers very significant potential in terms of mass population testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 testing.
Top doctor to update Albertans on COVID-19 pandemic as active cases peak – CTV News
The chief medical officer of health will give a pandemic update Tuesday afternoon after active COVID-19 cases reached an all-time high in Alberta to start the week.
Alberta added 898 cases of the coronavirus over the weekend, a tally that increased the province’s confirmed infection count to 3,138 – a pandemic high.
The previous record was set on April 30 when Alberta had a reported 3,022 active cases.
The Edmonton zone still has the bulk of Alberta’s cases with 1,604, but the Calgary zone is experiencing a spike with 998 infections.
Alberta Health Services has reported more than 300 positive tests in a single day three times in October, including 356 cases on Sunday, though the province has never added more than 400 infections in one day during the pandemic.
Hospitals have 117 patients with COVID-19, including 18 people in intensive care.
The province has reported 22,673 cases and 292 deaths to date.
Watch Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s remarks at 3:30 p.m. live at CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.
Appointments Needed This Year for Flu Shot Clinics – VOCM
The public flu shot clinics begin tomorrow, but appointments are necessary this year because of the pandemic. No walk-ins will be permitted.
Appointments can be booked online using a new online tool: Health Myself.
People can also book an appointment by calling 709-273-3904 or toll-free 1-833-951-3904. Appointments have to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
Stringent public health measures will be in place at the clinics; everyone will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and all must wear a mask.
A grant will be available to employers with over 100 employees who wish to hire a qualified health care provider to offer a workplace vaccination clinic. Flu vaccine and appropriate PPE will be provided to those employers.
The regional health authorities are working with the schools to offer the flu vaccine to students in grades 4-12.
Nearly 158,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador got the shot last year.
💉 Getting the #FluShot has never been easier or more important. Book your 🆓 flu shot at https://t.co/ov80a9QclN. Now more than ever, getting vaccinated is critical. As more people are immunized, the risk for everyone is reduced. ❗️ Please Re-Tweet ❗️
— Dr. Janice Fitzgerald (@CMOH_NL) October 20, 2020
COVID-19 takes toll on physical health of young Canadians, scientists, school board find – CBC.ca
Just five per cent of Canadian children met basic physical activity guidelines early on in the pandemic, which is why school phys-ed programs are now looking for alternatives to get students to work up a sweat in a safe fashion.
As a result of physical distancing measures and increased remote learning, children have had more sedentary time during the pandemic, and that has had implications for schools planning physical education.
The Toronto District School Board, for instance, has asked gym teachers to cancel fall fitness training after phys-ed instructors reported that students’ physical activity levels have been alarming so far.
“They’ve noticed that kids are out of breath immediately, so the lack of physical activity that’s taken place over the last seven months is showing,” said George Kourtis, who heads the TDSB’s phys-ed program.
Even so, educators say it’s imperative that kids get a workout of some sort. But that comes with challenges in a remote learning environment.
WATCH | Schools adjust as kids lacked exercise during lockdown:
Jennifer Bell, a Grade 11 phys-ed teacher with TDSB’s virtual school, recently demonstrated lunges to a class by doing the movements toward her laptop screen. But the students had their cameras turned off, which makes the learning more difficult.
“How do we teach sports skills while you’re standing in your living room?” Bell said. “You don’t necessarily have another opponent or a partner to play a sport with. That’s where we’re trying to get creative.”
Physically distanced football
Getting creative includes activities like juggling to practise movement skills and having students regularly type in their 15-second heart rate measurements to show that their heart rate is increasing from the participation, Bell said.
Maryam Sabir, 14, is taking Grade 9 phys-ed in person in Toronto. Maryam said physical distancing rules put a new twist on learning to play football.
“You had to stay six feet apart,” both horizontally and vertically, Maryam said. “You can’t really communicate with other people. It becomes harder to play in the game.”
Maryam said she enjoys being physically active. When the phys-ed class ends next month, she plans to continue to get a workout by playing basketball or soccer with friends.
Importance of movement
- An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (such as walking quickly enough to still be able to talk but not sing).
- Nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night for those aged five to 13 and eight to 10 hours per night for those aged 14 to 17, with consistent bed and wake-up times.
- No more than two hours per day of recreational screen time.
Mark Tremblay, a senior scientist in obesity at the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa, was part of a team that surveyed more than 1,400 parents of children and youth online nationally in April, about a month after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in Canada.
Prior to the pandemic, about 15 per cent of kids met Canada’s 24-hour guidelines for physical activity, sedentary time and sleep, said Tremblay.
He found that movement levels had plunged as low as three per cent during the early days of the restrictions.
“Almost no Canadian kids were practising the healthy living behaviours that are associated with health, and that puts them at increased risk, of course, of physical and mental health issues going forward,” Tremblay said, which “is not what public health officials want.”
The study, published this summer in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, suggested that the pandemic wasn’t entirely to blame. But certain factors could increase the likelihood of healthy movement behaviours outside of school, including:
- Parental encouragement and support.
- Parents playing actively with their children.
- Dog ownership.
The lack of physical activity was also influenced by children’s living arrangements. Kids who spent more time active outdoors were more likely to live in a house as opposed to a 40-story apartment building downtown where families may not feel safe playing outside, Tremblay said.
Tremblay said the public health messaging about staying home is important, “but it doesn’t mean stay inside.”
The scientists plan to repeat their survey on kids’ physical activity levels in early November.
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