The need for rapid and efficient COVID-19 testing continues to grow. Recently, Heathrow announced that “Lamp” (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) tests would be given to passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong.
The Lamp test is not as sensitive as the PCR tests used by the NSA, which is the same test used in COVID-19 Home Testing Kits.
As the UK enters its second phase of lockdown, with places like Liverpool and Greater Manchester being ordered into a tier-three level of full lockdown, the need for testing becomes more urgent.
Not only are accurate tests required for getting kids back to school, but many destinations now require that people undertake a COVID-19 test in as little as 72 hours before flying.
Already in September, the demand for testing was so high that the NHS was running out of tests.
Faced with the inability to get their children back to work as a result of the lack of tests, or to fly urgently for business as a result of the same, many parents and businesspeople took the quickly rising option of ordering tests online and taking them at home.
The pros of these kinds of tests cannot be understated. Not only are they conducted in the safety and security of one’s own home as opposed to at a crowded clinic where one risks exposure. But the PCR Home Test Kits offer extremely high accuracy in determining if someone is currently infected with COVID-19.
These tests differ from antibody tests which cannot detect if someone is currently infected, but rather if they’ve had COVID-19 within the last six or more weeks.
The Home PCR Test is taken by rubbing a swab at the back of the subject’s tongue, as well as taking a sample from inside the nostril. These samples are then sent to a laboratory, in secure packaging, and the results are often returned within hours of receiving them.
Many brits are unable to withstand another three-to-six months of hard lockdown as a result of not being able to earn their livelihoods. As stated by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan a few weeks ago: None of these restrictions would be necessary if proper testing was in place.
If an effective and accurate testing program were in place, perhaps the need for a full-scale lockdown might be obviated.
The main complaint with lockdowns is that it tends to penalise the healthy. An effective testing program would, at least, offer further options and possibilities such as only insisting on a lockdown of those people who had either not conducted a test, or who had conducted a test and then tested positive.
Undoubtedly, the need for self-testing will continue to grow.
No matter what route the next few months take, it is certain that people must be given a choice, and that the choice must be backed by science. If people could prove without a shadow of a doubt that they were not infected, surely they could be allowed to walk the streets and go to work without restrictions?
If the UK is to bounce back and return to some degree of normalcy, testing will need to become a de facto standard in our daily lives, with the burden of testing being shared by clinics, individuals, the NHS, the government, businesses and any other entities that can contribute to easing the load.