One thing we know for certain — every single individual can help our nation control the COVID-19 pandemic. By observing recommended public health practices including wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and preventing large indoor gatherings, we can not only lessen our own prospect of being infected by COVID-19, we can also stop the spread of the virus to our colleagues, friends, and family. One more thing that can help is to analyze as many individuals as possible.
Testing for COVID-19 is so important that in April 2020, the NIH established the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Initiative to create quick, easy-to-use, precise testing and ensure it is accessible. Within the endeavor, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program is all about finding solutions to block the spread of COVID-19, especially among ethnic and racial minorities, and other vulnerable populations which have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. Formerly we reported concerning the launching of the endeavor and our strategies to create community-based strategies to study how to execute prevention and testing plans for people that are disproportionately influenced by, have the maximum disease rates of, or are at risk for complications or bad results from COVID-19.
Researchers from the NIH and around the nation are operating round the clock to set up programs that can ensure access to acceptance of quick and reliable testing across the nation. Testing might help people decide whether they’re infected with SARS-CoV-2 — no matter if they have signs — and if they’re in danger of spreading the disease to other people. Taking steps to protect against the spread of disease is going to be the best way for getting us back to school and work.
We wish to take this chance to articulate why prevalent testing is essential, significant, and attainable.
1. Testing Save Lives
Testing of those who’ve been connected with other people that have a documented disease can also be significant. A negative test does not indicate that you’re in the clear; you might become infectious afterwards. Therefore, even in the event that you test negative, you have to keep shielding yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, physically distancing, and wearing a face mask. A positive evaluation makes it crystal clear that you need to isolate yourself, and others with whom you’ve been connected since the period of your vulnerability should also get tested. Testing of people for SARS-CoV-2, such as individuals who don’t have any outward symptoms, that show symptoms of disease like difficulty breathing, fever, sore throat or reduction of their sense of taste and odor, and who might have been exposed to the virus can assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by identifying individuals that are in need of attention in a timely manner. A positive evaluation early in the course of the disease enables people to isolate themselves, reducing the odds that they’ll infect others and letting them seek treatment sooner, probably reducing illness severity and the chance of long-term disability, or death. As it’s recognized that almost half of SARS-CoV-2 infections are transmitted by those that aren’t showing any outward symptoms, identifying infected people while they’re presymptomatic, in addition to people that are asymptomatic, will play an important part in preventing the outbreak.
2. Testing is Easy and Quick
A positive evaluation for SARS-CoV-2 alarms an individual they have the disease. Not only can they get treated quicker, but they can take action to lessen the spread of this virus. Originally, the only test available demanded getting a sample in the rear of an individual’s throat. New improvements, some of which are supported by two additional NIH jobs, RADx Tech and RADx-ATP (Advanced Technology Platforms), provide more comfortable and both precise tests that acquire the sample from within the nose. The horizon for large scale usage are tests which may use a simple mouth swab or a saliva sample. That is precisely why it’s essential to find the test results fast, ideally in precisely the exact same moment. Early in the pandemic, there wasn’t enough capacity and limited materials to accumulate and process the evaluations, which led to delays. But, laboratory equipment has improved, supply and capacity have enlarged, and outcomes are being returned on average, within 3-4 days.
3. Testing matters most in marginalized communities
During the upcoming few months, you will have chances, like the ones recorded at the NIH’s vaccine trial sites, to assist scientists in discovering whether the vaccines being appraised are now successful. If you become sick with COVID-19, you can take part in clinical trials underway to develop and evaluate a broad variety of possible therapies, in addition to several potential vaccines. So these treatments will work for everybody, it’s essential for individuals from diverse communities throughout the nation to take part in this study. We expect that in the not too distant future, all these efforts will lead to treatments that will put a stop to the outbreak. Meanwhile, let us all continue to safeguard ourselves and others from becoming infected and get tested if you think you’ve been connected with somebody with COVID-19. Communities of color are disproportionately burdened with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people in those communities are crucial employees, who can’t operate from home, raising their risk of becoming exposed to this virus. Moreover, multi-generational living scenarios or in-house home arrangements can permit the virus to spread quickly if a single family member becomes contaminated. Comorbid conditions that aggravate the health dangers of COVID-19, like heart disease, diabetes and obesity, are somewhat more prevalent in minority communities due to longstanding societal and ecological factors and impediments to health care access. Consequently, COVID-19 can disperse rapidly in such communities, and the effect of this spread is dire. Testing, especially of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people, is crucial to interrupting this particular spread. Staying informed is vital. We invite you to search to up-to-date, reliable sources of information regarding COVID-19, like resources in the NIH site or MedlinePlus, that the National Library of Medicine’s consumer information source. Regrettably, there is a great deal of confusion concerning where to have a test and how to get tested. It’s becoming evident that for an individual to test positive, they must get a considerable quantity of the virus in their machine. This usually means that when you don’t have any symptoms but believe or were advised that you have been connected with an individual who has COVID-19, you need to isolate yourself instantly, contact your healthcare provider, then get a test. In case you have any query, call your healthcare supplier or local county public health office. You might even get into the CDC Hotline in 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).
The United States is entering consecutive waves, and because the discovery of new deadly variants poses a threat to reset the pandemic, it is important to continue testing even if you have been vaccinated to identify the new variants. Current vaccines will not protect against the more deadlier strains. Testing buys us time to develop more effective vaccines and therapeutic treatments to help relieve symptoms.
Please encourage everyone you know to test weekly to help flatten the curve, so it buys us that time we need.
Frank Lee, CEO
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