Author: Jenna Windhorst
Throughout the United States COVID-19 testing has remained a scramble for supplies. The
most reliable COVID-19 test, PCR, requires samples to be processed through labs which ends
up taking days to months for results. The New York Times states that in many regions still “tests
remain in short supply”. The only way to get a COVID-19 test quickly and efficiently is through
urgent care or doctor’s office, which only a fair few have been able to take advantage of.
Even as you receive your results back to find out you have tested negative for COVID-19, it
doesn’t necessarily mean you are in the clear. Anytime between the date you received the test
and its results, you could’ve been in the meantime exposed to COVID-19. It is recommended
that you stay isolated at home until you receive your results back, but what about with the
people who aren't receiving their results till weeks later? Natalie Magnus, who tested in
Winnebago county, didn’t even have her results in 22 days after taking the test. Since
COVID-19 testing is so backed up, the real question is whether there is a more efficient way out
In fact there may be. There have been a lot of companies circulating this pandemic to try and
create a better COVID-19 test. The National Institutes of Health is investing $248.7 million in a
production of technologies to combat this lagged COVID-19 testing. RADx (Rapid Acceleration
of Diagnostics) has been one way NIH has supported technologies to increase lab-based
results for COVID-19. This may be the step our country needs to quicken results for COVID-19
and lessen the transition of infection to our enormous population.
It's unfortunate that we still have to grapple for resources like testing. I remember learning about some of the rapid testing technologies being created during a BRAINterns talk over the summer. Hopefully we can figure out a solution soon, especially with flu season starting as well.