There are two types of COVID tests:
- PCR Tests. The most accurate available, but the turnaround time is often several days. That makes the result less useful because we don’t know to isolate or how to treat as soon as we need to.
- Antigen Tests. Fast (about 15 minutes) and reasonably accurate, but less so than PCR. In particular, it can fail to pick up asymptomatic infections.
Until now. The NFL, in cooperation with BioReference Laboratories and Mesa BioTech, has created a PCR test that can be resulted in 30 minutes. In a study of 917 people, the results on this rapid PCR were identical to those of a traditional PCR.
If this is used in combination with rapid antigen tests (more widely available) to confirm the test result (likely when there’s a positive result and no symptoms, or a negative result with symptoms), it could make accurate diagnosis much faster.
This is not available to the public currently, but here’s hoping it will be soon!