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Broward medical expert addresses confusion surrounding coronavirus

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Conflicting messages about COVID-19 are creating confusion about what people should or shouldn’t be doing.

“This has been such an evolving immunological process and we are learning that every day,” said Dr. Shahnaz Fatteh, head of the Broward County Medical Association.

Guidelines from agencies like the CDC are in constant flux, including recommendations for when healthcare workers can return to the job after testing positive.

“I think in another three months what we are doing and how we are assessing is going to change,” Fatteh said.

Questions have been raised about the reliability of testing for COVID 19 amid reports of false positive, false negatives, and even incorrect data reporting from some labs.

Fatteh said that’s why it’s important to utilize FDA-approved labs and testing standards.

“What I hope people understand is these FDA-approved tests have perhaps better information and tests people are bringing into their office so we have been encouraging people to stay with testing at sites that we know are really using more validated testing methodologies,” she said.

And while scientists across the globe are investigating options for a vaccine, Fatteh said rushing a product to market could be risky.

“So I’m looking for those companies that are doing proper placebo-based, randomized, controlled studies. I think they will give us the best information. We will know whether or not it’s safe in younger populations and older populations, so we will know better what the risk of the vaccine is and what the benefit of the vaccine is,” Fatteh said.

Finally, Fatteh said we’re still learning about the benefits of testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

“We need to know what factors make antibodies weak or strong so we can determine if they offer protection to the person who got sick,” she said.  “If the antibodies are weak, they may not have much protection. On the other hand, those with strong antibodies could be well covered and may be the best candidates for convalescent plasma donation.”


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