Home » Virologists, test war. Palù demolishes Crisanti: “The data about him are unreliable”

Virologists, test war. Palù demolishes Crisanti: “The data about him are unreliable”

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Virologists, test war.  Palù demolishes Crisanti: “The data about him are unreliable”

VENICE – On the day when Covid-19 infections drop below 100 in Veneto, the voices of virologists are raised. The item? Always the quick tests and their reliability. Next Monday it will be exactly three years since the first death from coronavirus in Italy and the allegations of professor Andrea Crisanti, now senator of the Democratic Party, whose complaint led to the indictment of the former coordinator of microbiology of Veneto, Roberto Rigoli , and of the ex dg of Azienda Zero, Patrizia Simionato who had the rapid tests purchased by the Veneto Region. Now, as reported by Corriere della Sera, the scathing judgment of Giorgio Palù, virologist and president of the Italian drug agency, emerges from the investigation papers of the Padua prosecutor’s office, on Crisanti’s research, according to which the unreliability of rapid tests it would have favored the spread of the virus rather than hindering it. A study – said Palù instead – which “can in no way be assumed either as scientific data or as an expert opinion” and which would be nothing more than “unreliable and non-scientific information”. Among other things, another luminary, the professor emeritus of Microbiology and Virology of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, Massimo Clementi, had exposed himself against Crisanti’s study: a work, he said, “embarrassing”.
«I’m not used to gratuitous insults, my study in Nature Communication was evaluated by four world-renowned experts», Crisanti replied to Palù yesterday to courier.

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From Palù’s advice for Dr. Simionato’s defense it emerges that the antigen tests purchased by the Veneto were “authorized by the FDA and validated by the Ehrlich Institut in Frankfurt, and deemed suitable for diagnosing Covid-19”, writes the professor, according to which «it is therefore not clear why a public laboratory should conduct an experiment to verify what is already certified by the regulatory bodies. Carrying out a scientific investigation would have been a waste of public money.’ And again, for Palù, “it’s not about science, we’re talking about data to be confirmed yet, therefore information that shouldn’t even be used to guide clinical practice choices”.

Yesterday no comment from Professor Palù. Different, however, the reactions of other experts. “It seems really absurd to me to still see, after two years, the aftermath of a controversy that I thought had been overcome, the one on rapid anti-Covid or molecular tests – Matteo Bassetti, head of infectious diseases at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, told beraking latest news Salute -. It would be good to leave behind these contrasts between colleagues and return to a more relaxed tone, where everyone can have their own ideas but the scientific debate must find in scientific journals where there is peer review; where, if there are opposing positions, one can confront each other in the appropriate forums such as congresses».
And Fabrizio Pregliasco, virologist at the State University of Milan: «I won’t go into the merits of the story, I’m just saying that Crisanti’s article was published in a well-known scientific journal, subjected to the so-called peer review. And I believe that, if there are different visions, you can write a letter to the editor to explain them». Pregliasco, running in the Lombardy regional elections with the center-left candidate Pierfrancesco Majorino, invites the debate between scientists to be brought back to the scientific forum and observes how, “after Sanremo” and the spotlights on the controversies raised by the festival have been turned off, “perhaps there was a need to bring up something else that would make people talk». But if the technical contrasts between scientists are consumed in the media arena, “they hurt – observes the doctor – because they worsen the consideration of citizens towards those who have been exposed in this pandemic anyway”

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«I agree with Palù – said Maria Rita Gismondo, director of the Laboratory of clinical microbiology, virology and diagnostics of bio-emergencies at the Sacco Hospital in Milan -. We must remember the meaning of scientific reliability and the value of regulatory bodies. The tests had been validated and therefore it was not necessary, indeed it was useless and expensive, to carry out other tests». However, Gismondo invites us not to raise the tone: our professional category will benefit from it. I hoped that the controversy had calmed down ».
«The diatribe over the anti-Covid tests in Veneto – said Massimo Ciccozzi, head of the Medical Statistics and Epidemiology Unit of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Campus Bio-Medico in Rome – in my opinion I see it with Solomonic judgment: the tests rapid it is true, they give many false negatives, but carrying out molecular tests is very expensive. There was a political choice, however, supported by the fact that mass screening is usually done with inexpensive, rapid and non-invasive tests: a basis of epidemiology. It is true that the molecular is more expensive, but it is certainly more reliable. Then we must not forget the historical moment in which it happened, we had few weapons and tools. In conclusion, we must be united because the fight is always against a common evil and united we are stronger”.

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