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Rapid response to:


Covid 19: NEJM and former CDC director launch stinging attacks on US response

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 08 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3925

Linked Opinion

Politics and public health in America—taking a stand for what is right

Rapid Response:

Re: Covid 19: "The best science"?

Dear Editor

“The best decisions are based on the best science”, the article quotes.

However, the CDC states on page 39 of its 13th July 2020 document entitled,’ CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel For Emergency Use Only Instructions for Use’ (1) :

“Since no quantified virus isolates of the 2019-nCoV are currently available, assays designed for detection of the 2019-nCoV RNA were tested with characterized stocks of in vitro transcribed full length RNA (N gene; GenBank accession: MN908947.2) of known titer (RNA copies/μL) spiked into a diluent consisting of a suspension of human A549 cells and viral transport medium (VTM) to mimic clinical specimen”.

What does this mean? And is it the “best science”?


Competing interests: No competing interests

09 October 2020
Janet Menage
GP retired
Wales, UK