Article from abbott.com
As daily life opens up, coronavirus is the guest that will continue to overstay its welcome. That’s why we test.
With widespread COVID-19 vaccinations, you might not see testing as the necessity it was just last year.
However, healthcare professionals and infectious disease experts – including those at Abbott – are reminding people how not testing could reverse the progress we’ve made.
Let us paint the picture about the reasons COVID-19 testing is going to be vitally important for a long time to come.
- Viruses constantly change. Some emerge, only to disappear. Some emerge … and persist. Multiple COVID-19 variants have been documented around the world, including in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified five variants of concern currently in the U.S.
- Our scientists have analyzed viruses for decades. Now, their work is in the spotlight as COVID-19 variants emerge. Here’s how they’re keeping our tests current.
- Many infectious disease experts anticipate the virus (and its variant offspring) will continue to circulate the globe, with outbreaks in certain areas or seasonal waves, as we see with the flu or RSV. And we have a test for that.
- Having accessible, rapid testing is critical to catching new outbreaks, particularly for communities hardest hit already and where vaccine accessibility may be limited.
- According to the CDC’s vaccine tracker, in May 2021 only 40.5% of women and 35.9% of men in the U.S. are fully vaccinated. And demand is slowing even as government agencies look to make the vaccine available for more children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed individuals.
- Even as the U.S. sends doses to countries desperate for supply, vaccinations may not be available to all countries in 2021. Which leaves more open ground for COVID variants to migrate as travel resumes.
- In short, vaccination coverages will not be 100% around the world by the end of 2021.
- For those who are unvaccinated, the World Health Organization reports that temperature screening alone is not effective at stopping the spread because people may not be feverish early in infection. That makes rapid testing all the more important.
- The wicked combination of COVID variants with vaccine hesitancy has made health experts pessimistic that the world will reach herd immunity.
- While vaccines have been given Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations and have been shown to be safe and effective, only time will show long-term protections against the virus and its variants.
- While it appears vaccines offer protections for the vaccinated as well as stopping them from spreading the virus to others, more study is needed to confirm.
- Infectious disease experts’ mantra has long been: No one measure will stop the virus. The fight against COVID-19 will be won through many smaller battles: hand washing, social distancing, mask wearing, testing and vaccines.
- Continued COVID viral surveillance programs — just as we have for HIV, hepatitis and more — are necessary to understand variant circulation as well as the longevity of vaccine protections.
- After more than a year, the world’s collective patience for COVID and its restrictions is running thin. That’s where frequent screening with rapid, minimally invasive and affordable tests will help restore a sense of confidence in your health in workplaces, schools, as you travel and restart recreational activities. Really, for any place where people gather in large numbers.
- With rapid testing being readily available across the U.S. and easy to use – people can get the answers they need, right away.
Yes, vaccines are here. More are coming.
But COVID-19 and its variants aren’t leaving, not anytime soon.
For these reasons — and billions more around the world — testing isn’t going anywhere, either. So long as COVID-19 is in the world, testing will be too.