The future of testing is rapid, and we're here for it!

Rapid tests are enabling people to take charge of their health by being able to take a quick test to get an assessment of their health.

The future of testing is rapid, and we're here for it!
Diagnostics | Sep. 6, 2022

Infections and injuries have a way of sneaking upon us. One is often faced with health scares at the oddest hour or when you least expect it. Spiking fever in the middle of the night or a hard fall on your way to work are possibilities that we cannot brush aside completely. It can be difficult to know the next best thing to do at such moments. What should I do? Is it just the common cold or COVID 19?

Simply put, uncertainties around our health status often bring some amount of anxiety and self-doubt. But if there were quick ways to know the chances and severity of a medical condition, there would be no need to speculate and lose critical time for treatment.

When it comes to assessing the state of our health, testing can be the first line of defense along with timely consults with your healthcare practitioner if you experience any symptoms. The most efficient way to eliminate doubt is through testing, whether a condition or an infection. Recent events have pushed us further along the path to progress, making testing more accurate, rapid and accessible. 


Broader access to rapid tests is changing healthcare

Diagnostics technologies and services have been around for a while now, but the COVID -19 pandemic accelerated a shift in healthcare delivery and the need for evolving patient care. The need of the hour is innovations that empower people to make faster, informed decisions and help healthcare systems better tackle rising health concerns.

For instance, as a response to COVID-19, rapid antigen tests were launched to help people, even those without any symptoms, detect the infection accurately from anywhere, anytime, within 15 minutes. The rapid COVID-19 antigen tests have been used more than 300 million times in over 140 countries and across airports, schools, and government offices to identify contagious individuals and help curb  the spread of infection.

Rapid tests at the point of care improve outcomes for everyone. There are broader use cases and advantages of rapid testing to address pressing health challenges. For instance, rapid tests for malaria, dengue, and HIV can significantly expand access and scale fast diagnosis and treatment in the country's more remote and underserved communities. 


Partnering globally for timely detection and better healthcare delivery

Flexibility and access empower people, governments, and healthcare providers to scale up and better address their current healthcare challenges, especially when managing infectious diseases. For instance, WHO's Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator makes affordable and reliable rapid testing available to low and middle and income countries. Abbott joined the WHO's ACT Accelerator program to provide affordable and rapid testing to people and democratize healthcare.

These partnerships are essential to the future of affordable, reliable, and scalable testing efforts beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. It is possible, for instance, to implement robust rapid testing strategies for diseases like malaria, that could make a huge difference in a country like India (home to the fourth-highest malaria burden in the world). Rapid diagnostic tests are the frontline first step of data collection that can provide baseline information for malaria surveillance system. With strategic use of data, health officials can make better decisions about where to deploy the most effective malaria control tools.

This easy affordability and access can be a game-changer for individuals, governments, and healthcare providers. While COVID-19 has renewed our attention to rapid tests, its benefits and applications go far beyond the pandemic. 

Continuous innovation in diagnosis

The ability to assess symptoms, get definitive results and take the next steps can empower individuals to be in control and reduce some of the stress that 'not knowing' brings. The future will have at-home tests for various maladies, from a throat infection to food insensitivity. There is also a strong need and argument for digitizing all lateral flow tests. The results and associated data can be collected and stored digitally on the cloud for future reference. Testing becomes a means to monitor infectious diseases and identify hotspots.

With continuous innovation and a strategic approach, rapid testing offers proactive, prompt diagnosis and benefits both individuals and healthcare experts. Abbott's Pandemic Defense Coalition and Global Viral Surveillance programs continuously work towards assessing viral mutations and strengthening diagnosis. This can empower the broader scientific and medical community to identify potential viral threats and take rapid action when a new one is discovered to tackle the curve of infectious diseases and nip any future pandemic threats.

Disclaimer: This publication/article/editorial is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.

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