President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan accelerates the production of rapid tests to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. While welcoming a renewed emphasis on testing, some healthcare leaders warn that America’s path forward requires balancing testing type speed with accuracy.
Christopher Reeves, MD, chief medical officer at Worksite Labs, explains that rapid antigen tests have the benefit of being portable, fast and highly effective at identifying symptomatic, active cases — especially in the first week when infections are most contagious. But they lack the accuracy of some testing types, such molecular PCR tests needed to detect active infections in at-risk asymptomatic groups, such as contacts of confirmed cases, hospital workers, or during local outbreaks at schools, workplaces or care homes.
“We’ve always known that vaccinations and testing must happen in tandem to effectively contain and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Reeves says. “To move America forward, people need access to effective, fast, and accurate COVID-19 testing [types]. Both antigen and molecular tests can be fast, but when they are the most effective at detecting infection varies significantly.”
Connecting Speed & Accuracy with Testing Type
Many people associate gold-standard PCR testing with long delays in results. For example, at the pandemic’s beginning, traditional labs were overwhelmed by demand and test results were delayed up to 10 days.
A disruption in the traditional diagnostic industry is providing a more efficient, customer-oriented solution.
Gary Frazier recognized that he could eliminate the cost, time and inefficiencies of sending collected specimens off-site for processing by bringing CLIA-certified labs to testing sites. His company, Worksite Labs, guarantees customers 98-99% accurate PCR test results in as little as 90 minutes.
Worksite Labs also brings COVID-19 resources and free healthcare providers together to meet the needs of underserved communities in South Los Angeles and Brooklyn. Established sites, in partnership with local churches, offer free COVID-19 tests to community residents. In addition, vaccinations are available to residents in South Los Angeles.
“Pandemics don’t operate in vacuums. We must provide the highest-quality solutions to all of our populations,” Frazier says.
Worksite Labs testing sites are located across the U.S. with hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Austin, Atlanta and New York, and at airports with international service.