What could rapid Point of Need testing mean for the future of public health?

The last few years have felt long and have been difficult for most of us, thanks in no small part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is beginning to feel like we’re through the worst of it, many people are acutely aware of the continuing risks to vulnerable people from COVID-19.

Plus, there are big unknowns: will there be another strain following on the heels of the Delta and Omicron variants? What sort of symptoms might it cause? How will existing vaccines perform?

Fast, accurate diagnostic testing has come into its own during the pandemic. Terms like lateral flow, antibody tests, and PCR, were once confined to the medical community.  Today, even schoolchildren understand their meaning. The importance of testing has been cemented in the minds of the whole population.

Jonathan O’Halloran, Chief Executive Officer

We’ve been passionate about expanding access to High-quality PCR testing from our earliest days. Our mission is to lower the barriers to PCR testing to improve public health. With this goal in mind, today we’ve published The Future of PCR Diagnostics, a paper looking at the implications of diagnostic testing for public health at the Point of Need. By that we mean a PCR test that processes the sample and generates a result in situ, anywhere.

New treatment options at hand 

While COVID-19 remains the hot topic, Point of Need testing has considerable potential for many conditions, including respiratory infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and others. The good news is that rapid point-of-care testing devices, like the Q-POC™ platform, provide lab quality PCR test results in any setting, in only 30 minutes, with no laboratory skills needed.

Imagine you’re in a remote location, many miles from decent laboratory facilities. With Point of Need testing, patients can be tested for an infection, receive their result, and be prescribed an effective treatment in a single appointment. This could eliminate the risk of being lost to follow up while awaiting test results, or incorrect prescriptions being made based on an incomplete diagnosis.

For people in hard-to-reach areas and communities, like drug users, students, refugees, or geographically isolated communities in developing countries, the impact of Point of Need testing is considerable.

Democratising testing, democratising health 

Rapid point of need testing makes it possible to democratise health, by giving everyone, no matter where they are in the world, or what they are doing, the potential to receive rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatment.

This, in turn, can help economies to flourish by keeping businesses running while reducing the burden on healthcare systems.

You can read more in our full report on The Future of PCR Diagnostics.