In 2022, we need to shift our COVID-19 focus to testing

If 2021 is the year of the vaccine, then 2022 should be the year of testing. A COVID-19 vaccine is essential to controlling the pandemic, but because vaccinating everyone on the planet is time consuming and hampered by unequal global distribution; because of Many people who have access to vaccines refuse to take them; and because Vaccines are not 100% able to prevent infection., the world will need much more to get ahead of SARS-CoV-2.

It’s something additional should be widely tested—Not only the kind of lab that manages to confirm COVID-19 cases, but also at home, quick test that everyone can do on their own. How easily people can know their COVID-19 status will determine how well the world can get COVID-19 under control. The more people know if they are active, the better they can practice mitigation measures such as self-isolation and wearing a mask so they don’t pass the virus on to others — especially since many infections cause no symptoms at all, so people won’t know if they’re positive unless they test.
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Just before the New Year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Authorised Siemens’ latest rapid at-home antigen test, like 12 other authorized tests – can be useful for people who have symptoms and suspect they have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, or who are not do not have symptoms but want to make sure they are not infected before or after participating in a gathering with others.

U.S. health officials have increasingly emphasized the importance of self-testing in recent weeks, as more people boarded planes, trains and buses to focus on the holiday season. Conducting a self-test, which gives results in about 15 to 20 minutes, is a good way to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus to anyone else.

However, testing as a practice is not as robust as it is in the US. Since the earliest days of the pandemic, when Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratories were the only ones performing tests to verify cases of SARS-CoV-2 , the United States has fall behind in making tests for COVID-19 both readily available and affordable, for a variety of reasons, some of them scientific, some regulatory, and some even cultural.

CDC initially did not allow academic or commercial laboratories to perform SARS-CoV-2 tests because the agency wanted to ensure that a scientifically validated, standard test was used to verify all COVID-19 cases and provide an accurate picture of the viral load. in the country and where it is circulated. However, the first test kits that the CDC sent to state health departments, unfortunately, damaged by a lab contaminant, and fixing the problem slowed U.S. testing capacity in early 2020. Even after the FDA began allowing commercial labs to perform tests COVID-19 testing in the spring of 2020, the country is still catching up.

The U.S. response then turned to vaccines — devoting significant resources, personnel, energy, and attention to developing and then distributing the shots. Meanwhile, the public is also beginning to believe that once a vaccine is available, they won’t need as much testing. It’s an intuitive response, but the fact that SARS-CoV-2 can infect humans without causing any symptoms, andAn infected faucet — with or without symptoms — can still spread the virus others.

The virus also begins to mutate, meaning that while vaccines continue to protect people, that immunity weakens in the face of new versions of the virus. So even with vaccines, it’s important for people to know if they’re infected.

But testing remains out of reach for many Americans. While the National Health Service in the UK offers free testing kits, sending the kits directly to people’s homes, in the US Americans have to buy them for around $20 to $40. la online or in pharmacies. In December, President Joe Biden announced that Private insurers, which include about 150 million Americans, must refund people who buy self-tests.; Until then, many insurance companies only cover the cost if a self-exam is ordered by a medical professional, or if they have symptoms. Such requirements defeat the purpose of using home tests as a way for people to stay vigilant about COVID-19 and self-isolate or avoid public facilities if they are positive. .

It doesn’t help that medical professionals also send mixed messages about the importance and reliability of testing to the public. Gold standard test for SARS-CoV-2, called PCR, or molecular testing, looking for genetic traces of the virus. Doctors rely on PCR testing to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19.

The home test called rapid antigen testand can provide results in about 15 to 20 minutes. They looked for proteins secreted by the virus in infected people, and most were more than 90% reliable at identifying viral infections. These rapid tests can also generally detect any variant of SARS-CoV-2, including the latest Omicron variant, although the FDA alert 28 that rapid tests may not be as sensitive to Omicron as they are to earlier variants of the virus.

However, some doctors note that they are not as accurate as PCR tests because PCR tests can take a small amount of virus and amplify it to ensure that any SARS-CoV-2 is not missed. However, for monitoring purposes, these self-examinations can be quite effective. It is better to be safe than sorry and encourage people to check themselves more often before or after potentially high-risk behaviors such as boarding a plane or attending an indoor public event, which can helps people avoid spreading the virus to others by isolating themselves until they test negative.

That’s why in recent weeks, health officials are paying more attention to testing. CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky advertised Test to Stay program for schools, encourage students of all ages to check in regularly. However, many parents have struggled to purchase these kits at pharmacies near their homes, as they cannot have enough tests in stock to meet demand. Predict continued pressure for other tests, Biden announces plan to buy 500 million home kitss will be distributed free of charge to Americans. The federal government is planning to build a website to receive requests to have kits shipped directly to people’s homes, but as of December 29, the site is still not working.

With Omicron continuing to spread rapidly and political leaders reluctant to resort to lockdown measures again, testing, especially home testing, will be essential to contain the pandemic. . It’s the only way Americans can take the proper precautions to stop the spread of the virus and potentially cause additional cases in the coming year. The sooner people who are infected, whether they have symptoms or not, isolate themselves so the virus can’t spread to others, the sooner the pandemic will break out.

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