As the threat of Ebola increases here in the United States, we’re starting to hear the government refrain, from Obama on down, that there is no need for panic. Of course these are the same folks telling us that a travel ban can’t possibly help, that “isolating” a country in order to prevent its spread won’t work.
Not to get off topic but if “isolating” a country won’t work, why then do we “isolate” individual patients? Isn’t that what an “isolation” ward is supposed to do – prevent the disease’s spread?
Anyway, they ask us not to panic, yet it seems every day we hear of another person suspected of having Ebola, and seems to take days before we find out whether it’s a false alarm.
They asked us to trust that our government is doing everything it can to keep us safe and protect us from this threat.
It seems one way of doing that would be quickly to determine whether someone has actually contracted the disease. For that, a test must be developed – a way of screening for the disease – maybe a screening machine.
Hey, what do you know – one already exists, and it’s already being successfully used by our military… in Africa.
You may also have heard, or maybe not, that the machine developed by BioFire Diagnostics of Salt Lake City, is capable of screening for many viral, fungal, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens. To screen for Ebola is just a matter of purchasing a software upgrade or kit for the FilmArray machine.
“The FilmArray performs polymerase chain reaction tests to determine the presence of Ebola on the basis of genetic markers. ‘It will take the Ebola cells, break them open, exposed the [ribonucleic acid] in the Ebola and match those with the target we’ve identified’, company representatives told the site Defense One. The machine can work off of blood or even saliva samples.”
Okay, great – so a company has developed a screening machine. But no doubt the FDA, who is responsible for regulating its use, doesn’t want machines out there giving false positive results needlessly scaring the public. That wouldn’t be good. No it wouldn’t, except that the test is more than 90% accurate, and fast – results attained within one hour.
All right, they have a machine, and it’s fast and accurate but it must cost a fortune. That’s why they’re not being dispatched to every major airport and hospital, right?
Well, not exactly. As medical devices go, it’s dirt cheap at $39,000 each. For you antiwar nuts – that’s a fraction of the cost of one missile.
Okay, so it’s fast, cheap and accurate. Then what’s the problem? It must be the size – probably has to be delivered on a flatbed truck. Wrong again! It’s the size of a toaster oven.
Got it? It’s cheap, small (portable), fast, and highly accurate. They should be everywhere, but they’re not, and the hospitals that do have them can’t use them thanks to government “regulation.”
Yes, once again, thank the federal government, this time the FDA. Evidently their strict adherence to overburdening “guidelines” and “protocols” are more important than saving lives.
In fact, the FDA may have sentenced to death the two nurses who treated patient zero, Duncan, in Dallas because the hospital wasn’t allowed, due to idiotic regulation, to use the screening machine they had on-site to test Duncan.
To add insult to injury, Defense One reported:
“The FDA rules in what are called ‘research use only’ machines are far more lax than for machines that must provide clinical diagnosis. According to representatives from BioFire, even after the FDA approved the use of the machine for Ebola screening and allowed workers at the hospital to acquire the proper kit for Ebola testing, a 10 to 20 day ‘validation’ procedure would kick in before they could change the machines use from diagnostics to research – and the results would have to go to the Centers for Disease Control for confirmation.”
Terrific! Yet another layer of bureaucracy, of needless red tape, to slow things down even further.
There is no logical, common sense reason for the incompetent FDA to continue to keep a leash on this technology. It’s proven technology, good enough for the military, and should be good enough for hospital personnel. It’s proven highly accurate, fast, cheap, and portable.
The problem is that our government has none of the same attributes.
Trying to get these bureaucrats to change direction or loosen regulation is like trying to make a U-turn with an aircraft carrier, and many more citizens may end up falling victim due to the governments plodding incompetent bureaucracy.