One of – one of you understand – the big mistakes made over the Pond recently has been that people have been listening to the Food and Drug Administration. That FDA is a large and unwieldy bureaucracy tha, like all such with any actual power, doesn’t see the need to loosen their grip on the power they have. They also fall prey to the failing of all bureaucracies everywhere, an insistence that actually the perfect is not the enemy of the good.
The MHRA over here is doing exactly the same thing:
Boris Johnson’s plans to test millions of schoolchildren for coronavirus every week appear to be in disarray after the UK regulator refused to formally approve the daily testing of pupils in England, the Guardian has learned.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told the government on Tuesday it had not authorised the daily use of 30-minute tests due to concerns that they give people false reassurance if they test negative.
This could lead to pupils staying in school and potentially spreading the virus when they should be self-isolating.
The regulator’s decision undermines a key element of the government’s strategy to bring the pandemic under control – and is bound to raise fresh questions about the tests, and the safety of the schools that have been asked to use them.
It is entirely correct that these cheap and speedy tests are not perfect. And yet the need is for cheap and speedy tests that are not quite perfect.
The FDA, at one point, denied approval on a home test. Because such a home test would not be taking place in lab conditions. After that outcry they relented and said, well, OK. But only with a prescription. They required the signature of a doctor who wasn’t there and hadn’t seen the patient in order to do a test the point of which was that the doctor didn’t need to be there.
That was after their other interesting insistence. That the varied labs around the country – university, pharma company, research org – shouldn’t be allowed to do tests. You know, unlike that bloke in the Faroes who rerouted one for testing salmon for virii. All tests must be done by CDC. And in the CDC lab, on the CDC test. The CDC lab didn’t have the throughput to do this of course. And there was also that pesky little problem of the fact that CDC has infected it’s own tests with coronavirus anyway, making them entirely useless.
But the FDA had done something and that’s the point. As the FDA had dome something in a pandemic then the FDA remained the Big I Am during a pandemic.
Which is what the MHRA is doing here. If the government had said not to use the tests then the MHRA would be saying to use them. For the point and purpose here isn’t to do testing or not do testing. It’s to prove that the Cabinet must make obeisance to the MHRA at this time of national peril. For they, the bureaucracy, are and should be the Big I Am. They are the technocrats and we are all following the science, aren’t we denier!
It’ll be such an important meeting when the Cabinet turns up to ask permission that chocolate biscuits might be served and there’s no more telling sign of importance than that, is there?