Serological Testing and Smarter Public Health Strategies to Combat COVID-19: Podcast with Dr. John Marr and Dr. Lloyd Novick

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Drs. John Marr and Lloyd Novick continue their conversation on COVID-19, this time discussing serological testing for COVID-19 virus as a component of a smarter public health strategy, a strategy that has been suggested by Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.

As Dr. Novick notes in the following podcast, the New York State Wadsworth Public Health Laboratory has excellent past experience with performing mass serological testing for HIV in the newborn and other at-risk populations. Two articles by Dr. Novick et al describe how in a 21/2-year-period HIV serological testing was done for more than 650,000 specimens on newborns. This is a marked underestimate of capacity since serological testing at that time included other groups including those attending sexually transmitted disease clinics and family planning clinics.

This experience shows that with a concerted effort large-scale testing of the population is possible.

Recommended Reading:

  1. Novick, L.F., Berns, D., Stricof, R., Stevens, R., Pass, K. and Wethers, J. HIV Seroprevalence in Newborns in New York State. Journal of the American Medical Association, 261: 1745-1750, March 1989.
  2. Novick, L.F., Glebatis, D.M., Stricof, R.L., MacCubbin, P.A., Lessner, L. and Berns, D.S. Newborn Seroprevalence Study: Methods and Results. American Journal of Public Health (Supplement), 81: 15-21, May 1991.

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Lloyd F. Novick, MD, MPH is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Public Health at the Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University. Previously, he was chair of this Department. He has served as the Commissioner of Health and Secretary for Human Services of Vermont, Director of Health Services for Arizona, and Director of the Office of Public Health for New York State. Previous academic positions include Professor and Director of the Preventive Medicine Program for SUNY Upstate Medical University, Professor and Chair of Epidemiology at the University of Albany School of Public Health, and Clinical Professor and Director of the Teaching Program in Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Vermont, College of Medicine. He is the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. He is also editor of five books, including Public Health Administration: Principles for Population-Based ManagementPublic Health Issues in Disaster Preparedness; Community-Based Prevention Programs that Work; Public Health Leaders Tell Their Stories; and Health Problems in the Prison Setting. He is past president of the Association of Teachers of Prevention and Research (APTR) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). He has received a number of national awards, including Special Recognition Award, American College of Preventive Medicine (2005); Duncan Clark Award, Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine (2003); Yale University Distinguished Service Award (2003); Excellence in Health Administration, American Public Health Association (2001); and the Arthur T. McCormack Award, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (1992). He is a graduate of Colgate University (BA), New York University (MD), and Yale University (MPH). Follow him on Twitter.

Dr. John S. Marr is an American physician, epidemiologist, and author. His professional life has concerned outbreaks of infectious disease and thus his subsequent writing career has focused on that topic, particularly historical epidemics. Marr graduated from Yale and received an MD from New York Medical College. He then completed an MPH degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. Marr is a board-certified (internal medicine, preventive medicine, occupational medicine) physician and a Louisiana State University Fellow in Tropical Medicine.