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    • I’ve read some articles about home COVID-19 tests. It seems like they won’t be very long before they are available. $100-200 and able to do up to 5 tests. This varies from company to company but to me it seems like it would be a game changer. If we could buy a test to put us at ease or check ourselves when we have symptoms I think millions of people can and would pay the money. Would it be used enough to keep the transmission rates below 1? I think it might just be something that could help tip the balance. What do you all think? What cost would make it ubiquitous enough to help? Would it even make a difference? Is it the non symptom carriers that we should be most concerned about? Is tracking a cheaper and more effective approach? Do we need to hire thousands of trackers? Thoughts?

    • What do you all think? What cost would make it ubiquitous enough to help? Would it even make a difference? Is it the non symptom carriers that we should be most concerned about? Is tracking a cheaper and more effective approach? Do we need to hire thousands of trackers? Thoughts

      Thanks for starting this conversation. Tagging a few brilliant minds to join in but I’ll offer my thoughts as a starter: @Pathfinder @JazliAziz @jpop @Chris @Shay

      Until we have a vaccine, people will continue to die. So the goal is to prevent as many deaths as possible whether we’re in full lockdown, an early stage of reducing restrictions, or a “return to normal.”

      If every evening, after driving home from work, you could test yourself before you walked in the door then you could prevent your family members from getting infected from you if you test positive.

      As someone living with someone who is at greater risk of death from infection, I would easily pay five grand a year if I could do daily testing.

      Getting tested daily would also mean that I get needed care when the treatment required is the least invasive, rather than waiting until my symptoms are pronounced and more serious and hospitalization may be my only option.

      Not everyone can afford to spend five grand a year for testing, however, especially when 40% of the US population doesn’t have $500 saved for an emergency.

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      Another option to consider is “immunity passports.” The EU has been seriously considering this so that people who already had coronavirus can travel between countries. In the movie Contagion, they had wristbands to differentiate those who had received the vaccine so it’s a similar concept.

      However, whether you can get the virus a second time is open for discussion because both Malaysia and South Korea have reported cases of recovered coronavirus patients who were subsequently re-infected.

    • Could you share what kind of tests these are? To the best of my knowledge, the only test we can do on our own without any specialised lab equipment is antibody tests, which doesn't necessarily reflect the health status of an individual. The gold standard for COVID-19 testing is RT-PCR, which is a genetic test that identifies the presence of the virus via genetic identification. This can't be done at home since it requires specific lab equipment.

      Asymptomatic carriers are a concern, because there's no urgency for them to get tested since they don't know they've been infected. Presumably, these individuals contracted the disease but their immune systems have been able to fight it to a degree that symptoms never show. I'm not even sure if these carriers would even have a significant amount of circulating antibodies anyway for antibody-detection kits.

    • However, whether you can get the virus a second time is open for discussion because both Malaysia and South Korea have reported cases of recovered coronavirus patients who were subsequently re-infected.

      Actually in Malaysia this hasn't happened yet. We're aware of the risk but as of yet no recovered patient has reported being reinfected.

    • Janice Brown was the first patient at Desert Valley to test positive for the coronavirus. One of the first to be released. She thought she was in the clear. Two weeks later, she had tested positive a second time.

      This makes the idea of home tests concerning if you can test positive in the future.

      Is it a new strain of the virus? Or was her first infection relatively mild and therefore she didn’t build up sufficient antibodies?

    • Is it a new strain of the virus? Or was her first infection relatively mild and therefore she didn’t build up sufficient antibodies?

      Both are equally plausible, though a full genome test of the virus would be required to confirm.

    • Until vaccine becomes widely available, the only way we can return to a semblance of a normal life is testing (to find out who has it), contact tracing (to find out who might be exposed) and isolation (to prevent further infection). Anything that can help in that regard is welcome and a step forward. Home tests would certainly be a huge benefit.

      How close they are to general availability, how effective and reliable, I'm not sure. But I would definitely jump at a chance to get them.

    • Many of the 'reinfection' cases might a caused by a false negative test. As I understand it, the disease itself is known to manifest in waves, withdrawing and the coming back again. With tests not being 100% reliable, it's possible you might have two negative tests, and still in fact be sick. At least, that's my hope.

    • The thing that scares me about this is that there are people who don't understand that a negative test doesn't mean negative forever. I know someone who was hospitalized recently for a non-COVID illness. She was tested before she was admitted to the hospital. After she was home she told me she had test results showing she was negative so she didn't need to worry about covid. I explained that the test results said she was negative at the time of the test and not forever - but I'm afraid that was ignored.

      On the other hand having the ability to perform a test at home sounds like a good thing.

    • The thing that scares me about this is that there are people who don't understand that a negative test doesn't mean negative forever.

      This reminds me of what Trump said recently.

      She tested very good for a long period of time, and then all of a sudden, today she tested positive.... She tested positive out of the blue. This is why the whole concept of tests aren't necessarily great.

    • I don’t think this is getting enough attention. Bill Gates has been arguing that we need a simple home-based test like a pregnancy test, and he funded and deployed one in the Seattle area. Breakthrough?

      He mentions in his talks that they’ve tried really hard to speed things along given the time urgency but still work through all the approvals. They had the state and county health officials on their side helping to administer the tests, along with an inspector assigned by the CDC, but unfortunately the FDA shut it down. Not sure if anyone knows why. Trump and Kushner have said widespread testing makes them look bad, so maybe that’s it?

      Maybe it can be deployed in another country like Canada.

    • I was reading an interview in Rolling Stone with the HHS Secretary under Obama. She said that the excuse of red tape can disappear if the person at the top says “This is what we need to do. Figure out how to make it happen.”

      Without that direction, government agencies will follow their regulations to the letter in spite of the insanity of doing so:

      The sense of urgency has to come from the top, or people default to, “There’s a rule that says we can’t.” That’s what’s happening. I used say, “Doing nothing is not an acceptable answer. Here’s where I want to go.” It’s miraculous. If you start with that approach, lawyers and others quickly find you can go around [the obstacles]. But at a time of confusion, or a time of a lack of guidance, or if you’re getting very mixed messages — which I think was absolutely going on — the default position is do nothing, to stand behind the regs, and say, “We can’t move.”

    • research elsewhere in the world has all shown no reoccurrences thus far. Follow up positive tests appear to be ‘remnants’.