Impact Of Self-Testing On COVID-19 Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic still constitutes a global health crisis, and it continues to evolve with the circulation of new variants, the advancement medical and diagnostic technology, and the implementation of novel strategies. Despite the development of highly efficient vaccines, non-pharmaceutical strategies remain vital for the mitigation of viral transmission, hospitalization, and mortality.
The recent introduction of COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests have been one of these interventions. Now, getting tested for COVID-19 is easier than ever. You can find a variety of self-tests in retail stores, pharmacies, as well as online and purchase them without prescription.
Although research is ongoing on the exact impact of self-testing on pandemic management and public health. However, there is growing evidence supporting that self-testing improves access to testing, reduces the burden on healthcare systems, and helps mitigate viral transmission by facilitating frequent testing, rapid results, and immediate isolation.
Self-tests can provide broader and more equitable access to testing
The simple equipment and technology of self-tests significantly reduces the resources and time required for production and distribution. These tests can be made and distributed in large quantities very quickly with minimal costs. On one hand, the introduction of rapid antigen self-tests could enhance the testing capacity of low and middle-income countries. Especially in resource-limited or remote areas where polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing or laboratory equipment might not be readily available, rapid antigen self-tests can broaden the access to diagnostics. If PCR testing is not readily available in your area, you can easily find a range of self-tests in pharmacies, retail stores, or online, and choose the best option for you.
On the other hand, the availability of self-testing could improve the access of underserved and underprivileged populations within a community by facilitating more affordable and convenient testing. Overall, the introduction of self-testing can help mitigate the unproportionate impact of the pandemic by broadening the access for underserved people in low-income countries, resource limited areas, and underprivileged groups.
Self-Tests Can Reduce the Burden on Healthcare Providers and Resources
As self-tests allow patients to collect and process their own samples outside of healthcare or laboratory settings. As people can now find a wide range of self-tests in pharmacies, retail stores, or online and take them without leaving the comfort of their own home, self-tests can help reduce the stress on overburdened healthcare systems worldwide.
On one hand, self-testing can spare significant time and effort for healthcare workers and reduce the risk of exposure that they face every day during the pandemic. On the other hand, as self-testing does not require additional equipment or technology for sampling collection and procession, it helps prevent the overcrowding of healthcare institutions and reduces the burden on healthcare supplies. Altogether, self-testing can protect healthcare providers and contribute to the preservation of a functional healthcare system during the pandemic.
Self- Tests Ensure Immediate Detection, Isolation, And Access to Care
Earlier diagnostic methods required people to go to a testing site for the procedure, which increases the risk of public exposure to potentially infectious individuals. Moreover, these testing methods suffered significantly from limited access to testing facilities and long turn-around time for results. Self-tests help overcome these challenges by enabling people to check their infection status whenever, wherever, and as often as needed. Moreover, these tests typically only require 15 to 20 minutes to deliver results. With self-tests, individuals can get rapid results without encountering other people, self-isolate immediately, and access to treatment if necessary. Ultimately, early detection and immediate isolation may help break the transmission chains and flatten the pandemic curve.
You can find self-tests in the nearest pharmacies, retail stores, or one click away, and take one to quickly check if you are currently infected with the virus. Rapid antigen self-testing delivers results in only minutes and enables you to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Self-Tests Facilitate Frequent Testing
The introduction of self-tests has also empowered the public by providing a relatively convenient and affordable way to test themselves as often as needed. As we start to share public spaces and return to our daily activities at this phase of the pandemic, frequent self-testing proves to be especially advantageous. After a suspected or confirmed exposure to the virus, right before visiting people at-risk, or just to ensure oneself, these tests offer people a simple way to protect themselves and others. By making a visit to your favorite retail store or making a quick search online you can take a self-test right before visiting your grandparents, after a big indoor meeting, or right before your trip to your dream vacation and protect you and your loved ones.
Moreover, performing serial testing with self-tests has proved to offer an accuracy on par with a single polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Thus, it can be a valid and practical option for both individual and community screening to catalyze timely action particularly if polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is not readily available.
Self-Testing as A Novel Strategy
Thus, growing evidence suggests that performing serial antigen tests is as accurate as taking a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Besides, although antigen-based self-tests are relatively less sensitive in the detection of SARS-CoV-2, self-testing proves to be highly effective in the detection of infectious amounts of viral load.
Given the time-critical nature of the pandemic, its disproportionate impact, and the changing needs of the public, many experts agree that the implementation of diagnostic devices that can be used to quickly filter out and isolate the infectious cases may be the best strategy from a public health standpoint. Indeed, if the goal is to detect the people who are currently spreading the virus, the relative deficiency of antigen-based testing may be mostly negligible.
Moreover, as antigen-based tests are inexpensive enough to be quickly produced in large amounts, they may achieve high sensitivity by facilitating frequent testing. The accessibility and affordability of antigen-based testing also helps improve healthcare equity by broadening the access to diagnostics to include underserved people all over the world. Altogether, while laboratory based molecular tests such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have higher clinical sensitivity, antigen-based rapid tests such as self-tests prove to be an extremely beneficial complement to other clinical diagnostic tests thanks to their unique benefits for public health and pandemic management.
Due to their convenience for public health, numerous governments around the world have taken action to make self-tests available for public use. Throughout the EU, a wide range of self-tests have been authorized for use and can be purchased in various pharmacies, along with certain stores and supermarkets without prescription. In some cases, confirmatory testing might also be requested. In the US, the government has launched a website where people can order low-priced self-tests. Moreover, people can purchase self-tests in stores, marketplaces, or online and reimburse the cost of up to 8 kits per month with their health insurance providers. In Malaysia, the government has lowered the price of self-tests to 1 dollar to increase accessibility and in Singapore the government has provided 100 vending machines for people who have received a health risk warning to get self-tests.
In conclusion, rapid antigen self-testing for COVID-19 offers a fast, accurate and cheap diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 virus within your comfort-zone. Go to our RapidFor™ SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Self Test Kit to be a part of this novel strategy.
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