New testing kits provide a rapid and fairly accurate method of assessing coronavirus infection. In one new study using these kits, the results are revealing some new underlying trends in the COVID-19 pandemic.1,2 In some ways, these results are encouraging and in other ways they give cause for concern.
One of the biggest problems with the current COVID-19 crisis is the issue of testing the population for infection of the coronavirus. Ideally, one would want a rapid and affordable test kit—perhaps even one that could be self-administered like other test kits you can get at your local pharmacy for pregnancy. These test kits are typically based on a specialized protein molecule called an antibody that recognizes a specific chemical, bacteria, or virus. Antibodies form an important component of the immune system in humans and other creatures, but can also be produced in a lab for specialized commercial applications, such as test kits.
In Santa Clara, California, researchers devised a new antibody-based test kit for the coronavirus. In a study conducted by Stanford University using this test kit, 3,300 local people were recruited through Facebook ads and tested.2 Based on the test results, combined with demographic data for the region, prevalence estimates indicated a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected with the coronavirus in Santa Clara County by early April 2020. This was 50 to 85-fold more than the actual number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In other words, a huge amount of people were asymptomatic (showing no disease symptoms) or only have mild symptoms.
As the common cliché goes, “I have both good news and bad news, but first the bad news.” The bad news is that many people might be walking around with the coronavirus and not even know that they have it. This is problematic for the general population because these individuals could potentially be spreading it to others when they should be staying at home. The good news is that the severity of the symptoms could be fairly negligible to moderate for a large proportion of the population where there is no underlying medical condition that predisposes them to COVID-19. In fact, there may very well be a segment of the population where the virus has virtually no negative effect on their health.
However, we have better news for our readers. It concerns the availability of a cure for an even worse disease that affects all of humanity. This disease is called sin. And we don’t even need a test kit to ascertain the epidemiology of this deadly disease, because we are told in the Bible, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”3 Sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the first human couple created by God who then passed on that disease to all humanity. Because of our sinful nature, mankind has become separated from God and brought a global plague of evil, corruption, and misery into the world. But there is an amazing cure to this disease. The Bible also tells us, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”4 By turning from our destructive path and placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, we can be restored in our relationship with God the Father and have eternal life.
1. Ting, E. 2020. Large-scale Santa Clara antibody test suggests COVID-19 cases are underreported by factor of 50-85. Posted on SFGate.com April 17, 2020. Accessed April 20, 2020.
2. Bendavid, E. et al. 2020. COVID-19 Antibody Seroprevalence in Santa Clara County, California. medRxiv Preprint.
3. Romans 5:12.
4. 1 Corinthians 15:22.
*Dr. Tomkins is Life Sciences Director at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in genetics from Clemson University.
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