COVID-19 testing: The way forward

Dear Editor, 

We are 10 months into this pandemic and I am very frustrated with the insufficient amounts of testing available for our country and community. I recently got tested for COVID-19 and it was extremely difficult for me to get a test in Spokane (took me around 2 days). With cases on the rise in Spokane and around the country, we need tests that can be easily mass produced, give instant results to individuals and be done at home.  

Rapid Antigen tests are simple strips of paper that can test for the presence of COVID-19 in saliva, mucus, etc. Individuals could test themselves at home and know within fifteen minutes whether or not they are contagious with the virus. Rapid Antigen testing is already widely used for rapid HIV/AIDS screening in hospitals. They might not be as accurate as standard PCR tests that are currently in use, but, most importantly, they work for people who are mildly and/or severely contagious (symptomatic and asymptomatic) with COVID-19.

Standard PCR tests are not practical because they do not yield rapid results (2-5 days to get test results). They also detect small amounts of dead virus particles weeks/months after you are no longer contagious.

Whitworth could benefit greatly from this type of extremely accessible, affordable and rapid testing. Every single student on campus could be screened for COVID-19 weekly in their own rooms and receive instant results. I plea with Whitworth to consider looking into this testing method for future semesters.

For More Information:

By: James Radi