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Accepted Paper:

Testing during public health crises: on the socio-medical configuration and appropriation of viral testing technologies  
Katerina Vlantoni (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

Long abstract:

During public health crises, from the HIV/AIDS to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, various versions of testing and the discussions surrounding them have been ubiquitous. The configuration and appropriation of medical diagnostics has played a crucial role in shaping policies designed to address these crises, as it affected medical practice and even intersected with ideas about a disease. The use of tests, often contested in practice, has diverse effects in medical practice, medical jurisdiction and public health policy. Noticeably, during the COVID-19 pandemic, mass testing has been crucial in shaping medical responses as well as overall public health interventions.

In this paper, I am going to present a first round of findings from a newly funded research project, which seeks to contextualize the configuration and appropriation of medical/biomedical testing in a specific socio-historical setting, that of the Greek society. The project, called CrisisTesting, is focused on the study of the localization and adjustment of testing in this country, paying close attention to the sociotechnical tensions between testing and public policy. The CrisisTesting research team is especially interested in the technical differences of tests, as these invisibly privilege certain social policies. The research team studies these differences in connection to their social appropriations in four cases, referring to health crises that span from HIV/AIDS to COVID-19. Drawing on STS and History of Science, Technology and Medicine perspectives, CrisisTesting focuses on the interplay between developing, implementing and communicating testing practices as a means of public health policy.

Traditional Open Panel P309
Governing biomedical tests: towards social studies of bio-medical testing?
  Session 2