Studies published by the University of Colorado Boulder and Havard University researchers established that continuous and rapid turnaround COVID testing with inexpensive point care devices would control the spread of the virus irrespective of test sensitivity.
The authors believed that this strategy would allow the personalized stay at home order without shutting down restaurants, supermarkets, and shops. Daniel Larremore reported, “ tests that produce early results are better so that only people with COVID would be isolated to maintain social balance.”
The article published in the Journal Sciences Advances by the Larremore team explored the test sensitivity, frequency, and turnaround time that influence the spread of the virus. The team reported a hypothetical forecast of the impact of the different testing tools employed through a mathematical modeling system.
Moreover, the findings successfully established that frequency and turnaround time have a greater impact than sensitivity. The authors explained, “although the more sensitive PCR test takes time to give results but the reduction of the infection is only 58% compared to the rapid less sensitive test.” The reason being, two-third of people have subclinical symptoms and waiting for results allows more spread of infection.
Roy parker’s article was one of the first’s to point out the positives in the chaos of testing and prioritize the frequency and turnaround time. Moreover, the study was suitable for universities and companies who were developing low-cost testing devices for a large public setting.
Parker reported concerns regarding rapid testing because they require a high viral load to detect compared to the PCR test. However, rapid tests showed feasibility in instant detection as in real-time the viral replication goes from 5000 to 1 million in 18to 24 hours.Thus, Dr.Michael labeled rapid testing as a contagious test; however, PCR should not be ignored as it is the gold standard for early infection diagnosis.
Dr.Michael concluded, “ using the rapid test on important locations such as airport, stadium and concert could be the key to prevent the spread of the virus and to implement effective precautionary measures.