SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Rapid, inexpensive, paper-strip technology can easily detect if people are contagious with COVID-19. Research demonstrates that if run frequently, these testing protocols could drive down infections close to zero. The website https://www.rapidtests.org is recruiting the public to write letters/texts to representatives to push for adoption of the rapid paper tests as a public health screening tool.
Millions of these tests can easily be manufactured and distributed for as low as $1 per test for daily use. Tests could be administered at home or at the entrance to schools and workplaces.
Unfortunately, rapid tests for contagiousness are currently not approved by the FDA, because of overly strict sensitivity requirements. FDA requires tests to have sensitivity close to that of PCR tests. PCR tests are expensive, must be administered by a health professional, and detect ultra-low levels of viral RNA that can exist in your system for days or weeks after you have stopped being contagious.
While useful for clinical diagnosis, PCR tests require expertise and are too expensive to be a practical solution for routine public health screening. PCR tests can take several days to return results, which means that contagious people get their results after it is too late.
Rapid tests are very sensitive when it matters most — when the viral load is high enough for transmission. Combined with their speed and ease of use, rapid paper tests are ideal as a routine, public health screening tool.
Rapidtests.org is a grassroots team of doctors, data scientists, engineers, and animators who are working to change how the government thinks about testing, so that we can all get back to school, work, and life.
SOURCE Rapid Tests