COVID-19, iPhone and marketing… a dangerous mix

A “new” rapid test for the detection of COVID-19 make sure to use your iPhone to know if you have the infection or not… Although the reality is that it seems like a pure marketing move rather than something really useful.

Since the arrival of the rapid detection test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus antigen responsible for COVID-19, the diagnosis of the disease has been greatly facilitated, thanks to the fact that it is a detection system that does not require specific machinery, much cheaper than PCR and much faster. Used properly, by trained personnel and under very specific criteriaIt is also a very reliable test, much like PCR, but it has more limitations than the latter, such as lower sensitivity in asymptomatic cases, for example.

Kroger Health, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States, has announced its “new” antigen test with which “thanks to your mobile” you will be able to know if you have the COVID-19 infection. The process for carrying out the test is exactly the same as in the current antigen tests, not a minimum variation. Only one last step is added to justify this “innovation”: you must use the iPhone to read the test result. How complicated is it to know the result? It shouldn’t be.

If you’ve ever taken a pregnancy test, this quick test for COVID-19 works just the same. The piece of plastic where the sample is placed has a result window, with a C (control) and a T (test). The C must be marked with a line, to confirm that the treat has been done well, the T is the one that is marked in case of positive. That is to say: one line (C) is equal to negative, two lines (T and C) are equal to positive. It seems easy enough to have to talk about artificial intelligence in the press release that has been published announcing the test.

The controversy over the use of home antigen testing is not yet resolved. On the one hand, it could help to relieve the saturated emergencies of hospitals, because the patients themselves could do it themselves without having to leave home. On the other hand, it would be necessary to know the indications of the test, and be trained in taking the sample, something that cannot be asked of the general population. Tired of taking samples from patients myself, I doubt that I would be able to take it from myself correctly. The result is that could be more harmful than beneficial, by giving a sense of false security that could lead to a further spread of the disease. And ads like this don’t seem to help much.



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