What We're Reading: Gottlieb Advocates Testing, Tracing, Treatment; Pediatric Practices Struggling; First Saliva-Based Coronavirus Test

April 14, 2020
AJMC Staff

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, emphasized testing, contact tracing, and treatment to address coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); US pediatric practices have struggled during the pandemic; FDA approves first saliva-based coronavirus test.

Former FDA Commissioner Advocates for Testing, Treatment

In advising lawmakers, governors, and members of the Trump administration on how to return to normalcy amid the economic lockdown caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb emphasized the importance of 3 T’s: testing, contact tracing, and treatment. Reported in The Washington Post, Gottlieb noted that if business leaders are seeking to reopen state economies, companies should reduce potential risks to their employees and society by providing rapid COVID-19 tests at work and guaranteeing sick leave for those infected.

Pediatric Practices Struggling Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

First Saliva-Based Coronavirus Test Approved by FDA

Reported in Kaiser Health News, thousands of pediatric practices that provide front-line care for US children have been struggling to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused significant loss of revenue and shortages of protective equipment. Berkeley Pediatrics, a 78-year-old practice in Berkeley, California, noted that patient volume has dropped nearly 60% since San Francisco Bay Area officials issued the first shelter-in-place order. With the office scrambling to set up telehealth services for sick visits, 6 physicians have already been laid off, and all have taken a 40% pay cut.The first saliva-based coronavirus test, from the Rutgers University lab RUCDR Infinite Biologics, was issued emergency-use authorization by the FDA Monday and will be available through hospitals and clinics associated with the university, according to The Associated Press. As opposed to current testing which requires samples from a patient’s nose or throat, patients will spit in a tube several times to provide the sample. Andrew Brooks, who directs the Rutgers lab, highlighted that the test “prevents health care professionals from having to actually be in the face of somebody that is symptomatic.”