Select Page

To Get Americans Safely Back to Work and Play, We Need Cheap and Plentiful At-home COVID-19 Testing

BDVeritor

A hand-held 15-minute COVID-19 antigen test has received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, announced medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD) in a press release today. The test works by detecting the presence of coronavirus proteins using specific antibodies embedded on a test strip coated with nasal swab samples, which is then inserted into BD’s proprietary cell phone-sized BD Veritor System platform.

One huge advantage is that the test can detect COVID-19 infections not only in patients showing symptoms but also in pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people. There are more than 25,000 of the testing machines already located in hospitals, clinics, urgent care centers, retail pharmacies, and doctor’s offices around the country.

Becton Dickinson’s testing machines sell for about $300, and the tests themselves are about $20 each. This compares to at-home molecular diagnostic tests that cost more than $100 and take more than two to three days to obtain results from offsite laboratories. The company says that it will roll out up to 10 million tests by the end of September and that it is working toward the capacity to manufacture 2 million a week.

While BD’s new COVID-19 test is certainly a helpful step forward, much more (and even cheaper) antigen testing is needed to control the pandemic and get people back to work, argued an op-ed last week in The New York Times.

I made exactly the same case back in May: “Testing yourself and your family every day for COVID-19 with a cheap, easy-to-use, 10-minute test could be the game-changer for crushing the epidemic and getting everybody safely back to work and play. Widespread deployment of home antigen testing could make this scenario possible.”

Basically, COVID-19 antigen tests would work much the same way that at-home pregnancy and HIV paper strip tests work now. A fast positive test would enable infected people to voluntarily, quickly self-isolate, and thus break the chains of infection that are fueling the epidemic.

The Times op-ed suggests that fast at-home tests would enable people to act responsibly to protect themselves, their families, their neighbors, fellow bar patrons, and co-workers from this scourge:

Would everyone take a paper-strip test every day? Here market incentives will surely help. Once they are provided to all, employers would likely require their workers to take time-dated pictures of their negative test results before coming to work. Colleges would require students to do the same before coming to class. Restaurants could accept reservations only if accompanied by negative-test pictures. In short, everyone will have an incentive to test themselves daily to participate fully in the economy and return to normal life.

Once paper strips’ efficacy is definitively proved and they are cleared by the F.D.A., Congress can quickly authorize the production and distribution, for free, of a year’s supply to all Americans. Then we’ll have not only a true day-to-day sense of Covid-19’s path. We’ll also have a far better means to quickly contain and end this terrible plague.

How much would such testing cost? The good news is that other companies are working to create antigen tests that cost as little as $1. At that price, daily testing for a year by 300 million Americans would amount to roughly $110 billion. However, weekly testing by nearly everybody would probably be more than sufficient to crush the epidemic, and that would cost around $15 billion. That testing price tag would be a bargain when considering that the Congress has already passed legislation authorizing more than $3 trillion in various forms of coronavirus aid.


This post has been republished with permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on Reason. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.

-> Click Here to Read the Original Article <-

About The Author

Ronald Bailey

Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit https://reason.com

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome

Bringing together a variety of news and information from some of today’s most important libertarian thought leaders. All feeds are checked and refreshed every hour and pages auto-refresh every 15 minutes. External images are deleted after 30 days.

Time since last refresh: 0 second

Publish Your Own Article

Follow The Libertarian Hub

 

Support Our Work

Support the Libertarian Hub by tipping with Bitcoin!

Weekly Newsletter

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly email report of the top five most popular articles on the Libertarian Hub!

Weekly Newsletter SignupTop 5 Stories of the Week

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly email report of the top five most popular articles on the Libertarian Hub!