In 2017 a group of colleagues and I began editing a short book called "The Next Plague, And How Science Will Stop It".

It was published in early 2018 and became quite popular. Shortly after that, articles began appearing in The Atlantic and other places wondering what the next pandemic would be.

If you don't have the money to buy it, you can read it free here, or download it here to take it with you.

One of my concerns writing it in 2017 was that CDC was more like a government job works organization than proactive health group,  they were fine in notifying the public about tainted lettuce 6 weeks after it happened, but they were unprepared for a real health crisis. The only things they were proactive about were manufacturing new epidemics - prediabetes, for example - to troll for funding. It had been going on for so long that it seemed to be an entrenched part of their culture.

They were unprepared for a real crisis, I argued, and that turned out to be accurate. But the same people who love government hate corporations, so companies were hobbled in their ability to be part of any solution.  When the Ebola scare took off in the US and NIH went to Congress for more money, I noted they had received $330 billion in funding just this century and never once cared, it was just an excuse to get $100 million more. The only government group in the US that had funded an Ebola vaccine was the military.

The coronavirus outbreak exposed all of the weaknesses inherent in making more government the answer to everything. CDC sent testing kits with faulty reagents to states while numerous private labs faced mountains of red tape to be able to do what they do better than government.

FDA must have seen how members of Congress like Dr. Katie Porter are willing to use CDC for political theater, even if it's trivializing an HIV research legend like Dr. Robert Redfield, because they just granted Roche an Emergency Use Authorization for their SARS-CoV-2 Test to be used for the 2019 coronavirus. 

Coronavirus has been categorized since the 1960s, that is why the latest outbreak has a -19 on the end, so other tests will still work, but due to bizarre rules and red tape created by government - there is no point in blaming Trump, both Obama and Bush forced or allowed this bureaucracy creep - a test that worked for coronavirus in 2003 or 2018 has to be treated like a new drug or device.

The New York State Department of Health got fed up with it and declared they were going to allow testing on their own, so FDA retreated and is allowing the state to validate NY labs in lieu of making each of them pursue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) with FDA.

It's ridiculous. If you get Influenza in 2020 your doctor will not need to wait for Emergency Authorization from FDA to be allowed to diagnose it using 2019 technology. Why do it here?

But it is what it is. And what it is is reason to be skeptical if government uses coronavirus to claim more government is the solution.

In the meantime, congratulations to Roche for being allowed to be part of the solution to a problem government created.