The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is launching a new community health initiative called the “Say Yes! COVID Test” to begin in Pitt County, North Carolina, and will soon arrive in Chattanooga / Hamilton County, Tennessee.About 160,000 residents throughout the community will have access to free, quick antigen testing that they can administer on their own using three times the one week a month.The NIH will provide tests (also called home-test or at-home test) and evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative, aimed at determining whether regular self-management COVID -19 trials will help residents reduce community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
“The reliability and versatility of testing is a critical part of our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Regular review of COVID-19 tests at home can strengthen our prevention efforts, “as CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH” Combined with efforts to increase immunizations, this important initiative will help us understand how to apply new to – Research at home to reduce viral transmission rates in communities. “
The opportunity to participate in the testing program will be offered by local health departments. Participants will be able to order their test kits online for home delivery or pick them up at a local delivery area. A free online tool that can also be used as a phone app will be offered to provide test instructions, information to help understand test results and text message reminders about the test. Intensive community engagement efforts are underway to ensure that vulnerable and underserved populations are informed and able to benefit from the moment.
“This testing initiative is the first of its kind to attempt to make free, fast, self-administered tests available to the entire community to determine the effectiveness of the nation’s comprehensive response to pandemic of COVID-19, ”said NIH Director Francis S Collins, MD, Ph.D. “We hope to obtain baseline data that will guide how communities can use self -tests to reduce the transmission of the virus in this and future pandemics.”
Participants in the “Say Yes! The COVID Test initiative” also have the option of volunteering in an NIH-sponsored study to collect additional data through surveys.Survey questions are designed to determine if the frequent self-examination makes a difference in behavior, knowledge of virus spread prevention and thoughts about COVID-19 vaccination.
Selection of the two communities was based on local infection rates, public availability of accurate COVID-19 tracking data, existing community relations through the NIH Rapid Understanding of Diagnostic Populations (RADx-UP) (except link)external icon and local infrastructure to support the project.
Researchers supported by the NIH University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University and Duke Clinical Research Institute, both in Durham, North Carolina, will partner with the CDC and NIH to make public access to COVID-19 surveillance data. case regarding positive test rates, COVID-19-related illness and hospitalization and measurement of viral particles in sewage wastewater to assess viral transmission in the community. At the same time, publicly available data will be analyzed from other communities of similar size that have not received widespread self-management tests to assess the impact of regular self-management testing.
“If self-testing is shown to be effective in reducing the spread of the virus in selected communities, it is hoped that it will lead to greater distribution and acceptance of regular home testing across the country-which in the end provide a quick and accessible new way to curb the spread of the virus, ”said Elizabeth A. DiNenno, Ph.D., an associate deputy director for surveillance, epidemiology, and laboratory science at the CDC.
The test given by NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxThe SM) initiativeexternal icon is the QuickVue test performed by San Diego -based diagnostic company Quidel. The research received emergency use approval for home use with a prescription from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on March 1, 2021. The test was performed on a nasal spray and detected the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen in within 10 minutes The online companion tool was developed by CareEvolution, LLC, Ann Arbor, Michigan, with support from the NIH, and was adapted for use in QuickVue testing.
In a recent study conducted by NIH RADx initiativeexternal icon, the researchers found that rapid antigen testing at least three times per week achieved a level of viral detection similar to CORID-19 PCR testing processed in a lab. However, a quick self -management produces confidential results at home in a matter of minutes, while laboratory processing is much longer and increases cost. The hope is that quick access to tests and faster test results will make regular testing more desirable and encourage people to protect themselves and others in the community.
“The COVID-19 test underwent a revamp last year to provide the most efficient methods for a variety of conditions, including self-testing inside people’s homes,” says Bruce J .Tromberg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the NIH, and leads the RADx Tech program. “Advances allow for faster screening and surveillance testing, a powerful way to complete vaccination and help prevent infection as the virus evolves.”
“Say Yes! The COVID Test ”was conducted in partnership with the CDC, state and local departments of public health in North Carolina and Tennessee, NIH, research institutions including Duke University, University of North Carolina, North Carolina Central University, manufacturer of the test. Quidel, healthcare technology firm CareEvolution, community engagement partners from RADx-UP, and Community-Campus Partnership for Health.