The C.D.C. and N.I.H. launch a rapid, at-home testing initiative in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health Announced a new initiative Wednesday to help determine whether rapid coronovirus testing slows the spread of the virus.

The program will provide independently at-home antigen tests for each resident of two communities, Pitt County, NC, and Hamilton County, Tenen, enough to test coronovirus three times a week for a total of 160,000 people. Month.

“This effort is exactly what I and others have been doing for almost a year – a comprehensive, accessible rapid test to help curb transmission,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard University who conducted rapid, at-home testing. Has been a vocal proponent of. Program.

“Anyone can take 30 seconds of their day three times a week to do the test,” he said.

Antigen testing is cheaper and faster than PCR tests, which are the gold standard for the diagnosis of disease caused by Kovid-19, a virus, but they are less sensitive and have a greater risk of being false negatives. Mathematical models have suggested that if these tests are used frequently, they can still reduce the transmission of viruses.

The tests can help identify those who may not feel they are contagious, prompting them to self-isolate before they are able to transmit the virus to others. But real-world data has been limited, and the number of virus cases across the country is still high, Testing is necessary, Public health experts say.

Bruce Tromberg, who directs the Institute of Biochemical Imaging and Bioengineering, says, “We have all hypothesized that testing at home can stop the chain of transmission of the virus and allow communities to discover many more cases Could. ” Diagnosis Program, which is supplying tests for the initiative. “All mathematical models predict this. But this is a real world, real life example. “

Residents who decide to participate in the program may have tests delivered to their homes or take them to local delivery sites. An online tool will direct participants through the testing process and help explain their results. Residents can also volunteer to complete surveys that will assess whether frequent testing has changed their behavior, knowledge about Kovid-19, or opinions on vaccination.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University will compare test positivity, case, and hospitalization rates in these two communities in other similar communities that are not participating in the program.

a. “Very good news,” said David Paltiel, a professor of health policy and management at the Yale School of Public Health. But he cautioned that the results would need to be interpreted carefully, especially if the residents elected to participate in the initiative are not representative of the community at large.

“We know that self-selection is meant to bring out a disproportionate number of anxious wells and people who are already Kovid-conscious or Kovid-honest,” he said.

“It would be great to see how it works in the hands of those who really care,” he said. But, he said, the results may not generally be widely applicable to screening programs in which participation is mandatory, as may be the case with some workplace and school programs.

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