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New CU studies show that frequent and rapid COVID-19 testing can reduce the effects of the virus | News

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Researchers say that by testing half of the population weekly with COVID-19 and using cheaper and faster tests, the virus can be reduced by 80% and the virus can be eliminated within a few weeks. I have.

In a new study presented at Science Advances on Friday, Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Harvard have said that this practice can not only reduce the outbreaks that occur across the country, but also keep schools and businesses open.

“Our big picture is that when it comes to public health, less sensitive tests with today’s results are better than more sensitive tests with tomorrow’s results,” said CU’s assistant professor of computer science. One lead author, Daniel Laremore, said. Boulder.

“Rather than telling everyone to stay at home and preventing the sick from spreading it, ordering only infectious people to stay at home and others to live their lives. You can be able to walk. “

A “personal curfew” could avoid the closure of restaurants, bars, retail stores and schools, the study said.

Larremore worked with scientists at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University to determine what is most important to reducing infection rates (test frequency, duration, sensitivity).

The team has created mathematical models that predict the impact of different types of tests in three scenarios with a population of 10,000, 20,000, and 8.4 million.

Through this modeling, researchers find that testing individuals twice a week in large cities is 22% more effective in reducing infectivity than tests that take up to 48 hours to return results. I found that there is.

“This treatise is one of the first to show that we need to prioritize frequency and turnaround when it comes to public health, without having to worry about test sensitivity,” said Howard Hughes Medical Research, director of the BioFrontiers Institute. Roy Parker, a senior co-author who is a researcher at the institute, said. ..

In another scenario, according to a news release, if 75% of the population undergoes rapid testing every three days, the infection rate could decrease by 88% and eventually drive the pandemic to extinction in six weeks. I found out.

Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, said the stigma for rapid testing needs to change and could change the course for COVID-19.

“These rapid tests are infectious tests,” he said. “When people are infected, they are very effective in detecting COVID-19.”

According to the report, the cost of a quick test is only $ 1 each and the results are returned in 15 minutes.

Mina’s hope is to follow in the footsteps of several other countries where the United States has begun testing all its citizens.

“Within a few weeks, we were able to see this outbreak change from a huge number of cases to a very manageable level,” Mina said.

Despite the stigma of past public opinion surrounding rapid testing due to concerns that the test missed early cases of infection, Larremore says it’s time to change those beliefs.

“It’s time to change the way we think about testing, from thinking of the COVID test as what we get when we think we’re sick, to thinking of it as an important tool for breaking the transmission chain and keeping the economy open. “Laremore said.

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