Restrictions proposed by Nphet 'random and arbitrary', says immunology expert

Professor Moynagh, who is also the Director of the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health research at the university, maintains that "big mistakes" have been made with regard to messaging to the public.
Restrictions proposed by Nphet 'random and arbitrary', says immunology expert

Olivia Kelleher

Professor of Immunology at NUI Maynooth Paul Moynagh says whilst the latest wave of restrictions proposed by Nphet could lead to some benefits they seem "random and arbitrary."

In an interview on Newstalk Breakfast Professor Moynagh, who is also the Director of the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health research at the university, maintains that "big mistakes" have been made with regard to messaging to the public.

"Back in September contact tracing was stood down the reason being that children were missing too much school," he said.

"But we had the option of keeping contact tracing and using antigen testing. And there has been a resistance over the last year from Nphet in terms of using antigen testing.

"We saw over the last number of days the reluctance of Nphet again to impress advice from experts in the area of ventilation and air filtration. There seems to be this reluctance to accept scientific advice from outside."

Professor Moynagh claims we need to begin to look at this reluctance and "learn from our mistakes."

"If mistakes have been made learn from them. Whereas at the moment it seems that mistakes are made and that narrative is defended. And again we end up now with new restrictions that I am not convinced are going to be very impactful.

"We know they are going to be highly impactful in terms of the sectors for example. I am not convinced by the strategy that is being used at the moment," he added.

"We (also) now have this situation which to me from a scientific point of view makes absolutely no sense where Nphet are emphatic in terms of saying that antigen tests should not be used for symptomatics. I do not understand that at all."

Professor Moynagh says this week the public is being told to use antigen tests 48 hours before travel.

"The value of that antigen test is that they should be used on the day to give you real time information. There seems to be a complete disconnect here in terms of scientific approach."

He said that Nphet seems to rely mainly on expertise within the Department of Health.

"There is a reluctance to embrace scientific advice from the outside and that does concern me."

Professor Moynagh added that he expects the vaccines to still be effective with the Omicron variant.

"The vaccines will still do a good job. Even though Omicron may be able to bypass and be better in terms of re infecting the vaccines may still offer some protection."

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more