Widespread testing is the only way to contain Covid pandemic outbreaks, especially as a significant portion of cases are asymptomatic, with carriers exhibiting no symptoms.
But all testing is not equal, and each nation has the chance to act on lessons learned from around the world about how to optimise its processes for quality, cost and convenience.
Taking advantage of the latest evolution in Covid testing, which offers users a rapid, accurate and cost-effective solution in the comfort and security of their own home, is crucial to maximise chances of containment.
PCRs were the first testing weapon on the Covid battlefield, and they are clearly effective. But the need to travel to get a test (problematic when variants such as Delta spread incredibly easily), and the delay in getting the result while it is sent away and processed by a lab, which ranges from hours to days, mean they are simply not fast enough to keep up with today’s healthcare and societal needs. PCR testing is simply not scalable, and that’s in addition to being time-consuming and expensive.
As rapid antigen lateral flow self-tests came to market, some countries moved to carrying out these in supervised conditions. These benefit from giving an instant result and are cheaper to administer – but people still need to travel to get them, potentially while infectious, and the costs of supervisors and hiring test centres also add up. So while supervised rapid antigen testing solves some of the problems exhibited by PCR tests, it is still not a widely scalable solution.
This brings us to a new and third way, which combines the best practices established elsewhere, with an innovation twist to make them better, more efficient and secure too.
This is rapid antigen testing, but at home – and it exists today. Countries such as the UK have implemented large scale at-home testing using lateral flow tests, for example for attendance at schools and mass events. This solves the scalability and cost issues, though opens up a new issue of how to validate that these tests have actually been taken.
To build on at home rapid antigen testing, and solve the one remaining issue of validation, providers such as Consentry are offering the ultimate in testing – a cost-effective, secure and instant test, done from home, and with a secure certificate or QR code which validates not only the test result, but when the test was carried out. This is achieved through use of an app during the testing process, which is simple and easy to do.
This is the best of all worlds, because it fixes the pain points of other testing processes – especially as infectious and asymptomatic people can test without travelling – is cheap, eminently scalable, and can be used as secure proof of Covid health status where needed.