NYTimes Opinion | Rapid Tests Are the Answer to Living With Covid-19

Even with the effectiveness and availability of COVID-19 vaccines, testing will remain vital to controlling the global pandemic and ongoing transmissibility of new variants. The current gold-standard for COVID testing is a Polymerase Chain Reaction test, or PCR. However, PCR tests can be expensive, require a lab to process, and can often take 24 hours or longer to return results.

Because of this, we often don’t test people who are not exhibiting symptoms, and as a result, we fail to detect people who are infected asymptomatic carriers. Simple, fast, accurate, and affordable rapid tests will enable wider testing with more regularity. Rapid tests, while less sensitive, can catch just as many infectious people and we don’t have to be stingy with who gets tested. More frequent rapid testing across larger populations can help start our movement towards restoring normalcy.

On Friday, October 1st, Michael J. Mina, professor of epidemiology and immunology & infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and vice president of science and strategy at the Covid Collaborative, contributed a guest essay to the New York Times titled, ‘Rapid Tests Are the Answer to Living With Covid-19’.