As COVID-19 vaccines roll out, travel slowly increases, and more schools and businesses begin opening their doors, rapid tests that detect the virus have never been so important.
Why? Because getting enough people vaccinated will take time. And even then, scientists and medical professionals are working to understand the length of vaccine immunity and efficacy of the vaccines against variants of the virus springing up around the world.
Rapid COVID-19 tests can quickly and affordably determine who is most infectious so they can quarantine and not spread the virus to their family and friends.
Among the most widely-used rapid tests is Abbott's antigen test, BinaxNOW, which is the size of a credit card, requires no specialized instrumentation and can be used with a first-of-its kind complementary app called NAVICA, allowing people who test negative to display their results on their mobile device. Adding to the convenience, Abbott has launched and begun shipping a self-test that will initially be available at CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart without a prescription. The BinaxNOW Self Test will be sold in 2-count packs for an MSRP of $23.99, making it the most affordable over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid test available in the U.S.
"Demand for antigen tests could be enormous," Evercore analysts wrote.1
Abbott's other rapid COVID-19 test is the ID NOW system, a molecular point-of-care test the size of a toaster that's designed to deliver results in 13 minutes.
Chris Scoggins, Abbott's senior vice president of Rapid Diagnostics, gives an inside look at rapid COVID-19 testing, including its real-world benefits, value and impact on recovery.
What's the role of rapid COVID-19 testing in a post-vaccine world?
I think everyone is looking for a silver bullet in this pandemic. Masks aren't a silver bullet alone. Social distancing and testing aren't silver bullets. And although I'm excited about vaccines, they won't be a silver bullet either.
To take a pandemic and move it to epidemic status and get it under control, it will be a multi-faceted approach that requires a concerted effort by the public. This will include widespread, regular testing, mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing.
Eventually, a few years from now, when COVID testing ramps down and becomes more like flu testing, the infrastructure put in place because of COVID-19 will remain and play an important role in healthcare. Abbott will have built this new platform outside labs and hospitals that can bring all kinds of rapid tests to people when and where they need them.