The New Normal: Doctors discuss the Pfizer vaccine and the at-home COVID-19 test
We could be just days away from a COVID-19 vaccine.
Pfizer and BioNTech say that more interim results from their ongoing coronavirus vaccine study suggest the shots are 95% effective, and that the vaccine protects older people most at risk of dying from COVID-19.
The companies announced that "within days" they will apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of its vaccine.
They also announced that the vaccine has no serious side effects.
News 12's Beth Cefalu has more on the latest information about the Pfizer vaccine.
Also new this morning, the FDA has approved the first at-home coronavirus test. The agency granted emergency authorization to the 30-minute test kit from Lucira Health.
This is what we know about the test from the California manufacturer:
- It allows users, 14 years old and over, to swab themselves to collect a nasal sample;
- The sample is then swirled in a vial that plugs into a portable device, giving a result;
- The test will require a prescription;
- In a statement, Lucira Health said the at-home kits should be available across the country by the Spring.
For months health experts have been calling for at-home tests to reduce the spread of the virus.
In today's The New Normal show, News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Ankita Sagar to speak about the rapid test.
This is the first rapid coronavirus test that can be run from start to finish at home. A handful of other tests have been given emergency authorization by the FDA for at-home collection of samples, which are then shipped to a lab for processing. Dr. Sagar talks about the test and how to get it:
Federal guidelines note that people taking the test should report the results to their health care providers, who must then inform the public health authorities to help track the virus's spread. Dr. Sagar talks about the importance of communicating the results:
Dr. Sharon Nachman also joined News 12's Hashagen. This is what she had to say about the at-home test for children:
A small study, done by the company, shows this was able to accurately detect 94.1% of the infections found by a well-established PCR-based test. It also correctly identified 98% of the healthy, uninfected people.
The test uses technology similar to genetic laboratory-based tests that are the standard tool for COVID-19 screening. That's different than most rapid tests currently used in the U.S., which look for viral proteins called antigens — not the virus itself.
The packaging for the test notes that it "has not been evaluated" in asymptomatic people. Below is what Dr. Sagar has to say about how the virus is detected in the at-home test:
Dr. Nachman had this to to say about the Pfizer vaccine availability:
Dr. Nachman talks about the efficacy number of the vaccine, including for older adults:
Watch the full The New Normal show below: