This Could Determine If You Have COVID in 5 Minutes, Experts Say
Experts say it can expedite "getting people safely back to work and controlling outbreaks."
While millions of COVID tests have been administered throughout the U.S. and beyond, a new diagnostic tool promises to deliver results faster than any existing test. According to researchers, this new tool could help expedite mass testing, making it easier for people who need to quarantine to do so in a timely manner and thus, slow the spread of the virus. Read on to discover how you could find out if you have COVID faster than ever before, and for the tell-tale sign you're sick, check out This Is the "Strongest, Most Consistent" Sign You Have COVID, Study Says.
In a Jan. 4 preprint of a study published through medRxiv, researchers at England's University of Birmingham announced the development of a new means of testing for COVID that takes under five minutes to detect the virus. Unlike prior COVID tests, the University of Birmingham researchers' new test uses only traditional lab equipment and requires no administration of high heat to samples, like the PCR tests commonly used to detect the virus.
In a press release, Tim Dafforn, PhD, a professor at the University of Birmingham's School of Biosciences, said that the new test has "the inherent sensitivity of an RNA test" but with significantly faster results. The new test "can be used in existing point of care devices and meets the need for testing in … settings where people may be waiting in line for their results," Dafforn explained.
The new test, dubbed the Exponential Amplification Reaction (EXPAR), samples single strands of DNA and its quick results could be promising in terms of not only mass testing, but getting the pandemic under control faster, experts say. "More rapid testing will allow us to unlock near patient testing, getting people safely back to work and controlling outbreaks when they happen," said Andrew Beggs, PhD, a professor at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.
One of the struggles throughout the pandemic has been states doing sufficient testing and getting results back to patients as quickly as possible. A key factor that indicates how a state is doing in terms of testing is the positive test rate, meaning the percentage of tests that yield positive results. "The percent positive will be high if the number of positive tests is too high, or if the number of total tests is too low," Johns Hopkins explains. "A higher percent positive suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven't been tested yet."
The goal is for states to have a positive test rate below 5 percent. As of Jan. 5, according to Johns Hopkins data, only two states meet that criteria (Vermont and Hawaii). Keep reading to find out the states with the highest positive test rates that could benefit from the rapid testing the University of Birmingham is developing. And for more on the latest coronavirus news, check out Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Warning About Another New COVID Strain.
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Positive test rate: 21.6 percent
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Positive test rate: 24.1 percent
Positive test rate: 24.6 percent
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Positive test rate: 25.3 percent
Positive test rate: 39.8 percent
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Positive test rate: 40.5 percent
Positive test rate: 42.1 percent
Positive test rate: 46.3 percent
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Positive test rate: 49.9 percent
Positive test rate: 55.1 percent
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