Corona pandemic: rapid tests could play a decisive role

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Massive rapid tests for Covid-19 – especially in people without symptoms – could end the pandemic within six weeks. At least that’s what a new study by researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the University of Colorado Boulder shows.

Rapid tests are inexpensive and can show a result in minutes

The study was published on November 20 in the journal Science Advances. The rapid tests are less reliable, but they would enable the healthcare sector to take more targeted measures – instead of a comprehensive lockdown. Rapid tests are inexpensive and can show a result within minutes – in contrast to laboratory tests, which sometimes take days to be evaluated. If half of the US population were tested weekly and those who tested positive were then isolated from the rest of the population, the impact would be huge, the researchers said.

“We found that it is better for public health to have a less reliable test with a quick result than a more reliable test that doesn’t give results until the next day,” said Daniel Larremore, professor at Colorado University Boulder and author of the Study.

End the epidemic within six weeks with rapid tests?

“Instead of everyone staying at home so as not to infect anyone, rapid tests could only be used to order quarantine at home for infectious people. Everyone else could go on with their lives normally. ”The study is based on a mathematical model. According to this, rapid tests in three-quarters of an urban population, carried out every three days, could reduce infections by 88 percent and “end the epidemic within six weeks”.

“Such rapid tests are tests for infection,” describes Michael Mina, professor of epidemiology at Harvard University and also author of the study. “These tests are extremely effective in determining Covid-19 in contagious people.”

In Germany, rapid tests have been used in hospitals and nursing homes since mid-October to regularly test staff, patients and visitors for the coronavirus. The virologist Christian Drosten also advocates the use of such rapid tests. His team only recently examined the reliability of seven such tests.

This text was translated from English and edited by Siw Inken Forke. You can find the original here.


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