Philip Nolan, President of NUI Maynooth and Chair of NPHET’s modelling group, has been told by a Harvard academic that he does not “appear to know what you are talking about,” and that he should be “ashamed” of his stance on rapid antigen testing.
Michael Mina, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health, made the comments after Nolan took to Twitter to say that rapid antigen tests were “snake oil” and that “these antigen tests will not keep you safe.” Mina also said that Nolan’s comment “adds nothing of benefit and further sows confusion.”
Can I get some snake oil with that? It makes for a great salad dressing with a pinch of salt and something acerbic. Stay safe when socialising outdoors over the next few weeks. Small numbers, distance, masks. These antigen tests will not keep you safe. https://t.co/CsoTNrpfye
— Professor Philip Nolan (@President_MU) May 8, 2021
Nolan was responding to a tweet from Lidl promoting the sale of their newly stocked rapid antigen tests, which Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has “strongly” advised the public not to buy or use, saying that he is “very concerned” the tests would “falsely reassure people” who will then begin mingling with others and cause super spreader events.
That is nearly exactly the reason NPHET, and Holohan in particular, gave last year when they said that members of the public should not wear face masks.
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 10, 2020
The public usage of rapid antigen testing is a common feature in several other countries, with countries such as France allowing people to buy them over the counter for home use. Numerous groups, including business groups such as ISME, have argued that the usage of such tests will be a core part of allowing the country to reopen.