A new study has shown the importance of rapid testing in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
Rapid testing for COVID-19 of 75% of the population every three days can end the pandemic in six weeks. This is reported by Business Insider, citing researchers from the Harvard School of Health and the University of Colorado Boulder.
“Our big picture finding is that, when it comes to public health, it’s better to have a less sensitive test with results today than a more sensitive test with results tomorrow,” said Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado and study author Daniel Larremore.
Rapid tests, while less reliable, may allow authorities to rely on more targeted measures, rather than restrictive measures, if they act en masse, according to a study published in Science Advances.
Plus, quick tests are cheaper and can produce results in minutes rather than days.
Scientists say that if half of the US population were tested weekly, and those who test positive immediately became isolated from the rest, it would be a huge step forward.
“Rather than telling everyone to stay home so you can be sure that one person who is sick doesn’t spread it, we could give only the contagious people stay-at-home orders so everyone else can go about their lives,” Larremor added.
The study, based on mathematical modeling, shows that rapid testing of three-quarters of the city’s population every three days will reduce the number of those who eventually become infected by 88% – “enough to bring the epidemic to extinction within six weeks.”
“These rapid tests are contagiousness tests. They are extremely effective in detecting COVID-19 when people are contagious,” concludes Michael Mina, a co-author of the study and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard.
Recall that twice as many people are immune to COVID than expected. Many people who have never had COVID-19 before are protected from it due to their immunity from previous colds.