Wednesday, May 18

Immunologists: The infection stop app has no function now

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– I think it is reasonably certain that you will be exposed to infection in a relatively short time, and there is little reason to believe that that app will inform you when it happens, says Gunnveig Grødeland.

She is researching immunology at the University of Oslo.

Gunnveig Grødeland

Gunnveig Grødeland, researcher in immunology at the University of Oslo.

Photo: Mathias Moene Rød / Mathias Moene Rød

Corona infection in Norway has increased sharply after Christmas. But a milder omicron has changed the rules of the game.

The authorities now encourage you to only test yourself for symptoms or if, for example, you live with an infected person. This means that very many do not want to know that they are infected.

– Then this app has really lost its function, at the moment at least, says Grødeland.

– Does the app have no function now?

– Not as I can see.

Nakstad

Espen Nakstad, assistant health director.

Photo: Even Bjøringsøy Johnsen / Even Bjøringsøy Johnsen

Assistant Director of Health Espen Nakstad also points out that the risk of becoming infected is now high.

– With the high infection pressure we have in Norway now, and the short time it takes from being infected by the omicron variant until you get symptoms, we must probably all be extra vigilant about symptoms in the coming weeks whether we get a notification from the Infect Stop app or not.

Unable to register self-test

At the end of January, the Norwegian Directorate of Health asked people with three vaccine doses and a positive self-test not to take an additional PCR test. The capacity of the laboratories had exploded.

A few days earlier, FHI had sent out text messages to remind everyone to download the Infection Stop app.

The problem is that it is not possible to register self-tests in this app.

The app first checks whether the infection you are trying to report is also registered in the notification system for infectious diseases, MSIS. Only PCR tests are registered there.

The MX3000 subway at Jernbanetorget in Oslo

Omikron is so contagious that a ride on the subway may be enough, but if the passenger next to you was infected, there is little chance that you will find out.

Photo: Simon Skjelvik Brandseth

– I must say that is very surprising and disappointing because the point of the Infectious Stop app is to be able to tell people you have been in contact with, but do not know, says professor and immunologist Anne Spurkland.

  Immunologist and Professor Anne Spurkland

Anne Spurkland, professor and immunologist at the University of Oslo.

Photo: Mathias Moene Rød / NRK

– As the situation is now. Does the infection control app have any value?

– No, it sounds like it has played its role exactly in the situation we are in now.

Spurkland hopes FHI will fix the app so that self-tests can be registered.

– There may be new rounds of infection where we really want the Infection Stop app to be helpful, she says.

It should be possible to register a quick test

The reason the Infection Control app does not register self-tests was that they were originally afraid of false warnings. Gunn Peggy Knudsen, assistant director of FHI, informs NRK.

Gunn Peggy Knudsen, assistant director of FHI

Gunn Peggy Knudsen, assistant director of FHI.

Photo: Paal Wergeland

With the new infection situation with omicron, with a lot of infection about milder disease, one will accept the danger of false messages.

– When does FHI expect that it will be possible to register a quick test in the app?

– We expect to be able to have the technical ready in a few days, development of new functionality takes time, and must be tested well before we possibly take it out, says Knudsen.

– When there is as much infection in society as there is now and many are not allowed to register the infection, does the app have any effect?

It has clearly less effect now that many only take self-tests, but it will have some effect as long as a proportion of the infected PCR are tested, says the director.

Reference-www.nrk.no

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