Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 with Rapid Tests Australia

Australia aims to achieve 80% COVID-19 vaccination of the populace by December of 2021. How do you feel about another year of the current pandemic lifestyle?

Ready for a new approach?

Thank you for considering a new approach

This website is a resource to help you better understand the benefits of rapid testing and tracing. This could be an effective strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19 and get Australia safely back to a normal way of life. 

Rapid testing involves using rapid antigen tests to test large groups of people frequently, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms, to identify and stop the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing involves identifying how contagious people may have spread the virus to others via close contact, testing those people, and then isolating them if they are sick.

Results from the United Kingdom show that frequent testing with immediate results and isolation of infected individuals is a very effective way of curbing the pandemic.
 
Scientific models show that frequent testing and short turnaround time are more important than test sensitivity, and support widespread testing using rapid tests with results in 15 min.
 
Mass rapid testing can help identify people with COVID-19 who are infectious, including individuals who are asymptomatic or not yet displaying symptoms.
 
With as much as 75% of COVID-19 infections being asymptomatic who often fail to be tested, a mass rapid testing program will help to find these individuals and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
 
This is important because stopping the spread of COVID-19 will protect those most at-risk, quell the disease, and allow Australia to safely reopen our country.

Key Considerations

There are multiple strategies for how Australia could efficiently implement mass rapid testing and tracing programs. Our country has the infrastructure and expertise.

The objective of Rapid Tests Australia is to raise public awareness and demand for our governments to form a specialized task force to determine the best way to implement a rapid testing strategy in Australia.

Forget Politics

An apolitical task force should recommend how to roll out programs across Australia.

Test Frequency

Testing 1-2M people/day in specific sectors could help stop the spread in weeks.

Importance of Tracing

Tracing will be key initially, but redundant after universal rollout of rapid testing.

Mass Production

Rapid antigen tests can be locally produced and distributed without a patent in Australia.

Quick Implementation

Australia could be doing targeted mass testing in a month with proper logistics and supply.

Affordability

The estimated cost of a nationwide program is under $2B, less than 0.5% of what the federal government has spent on pandemic relief.

At-Home Testing

Universally available, personal at-home rapid tests will squash COVID-19. Transparent guidelines, sped-up approval, & federal support are needed urgently.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is a critical success factor. Australia’s tracing system needs more resources and people to operate it.

Help the Vaccine

The logistical groundwork used to distribute rapid tests could also be used to distribute the vaccine when it’s ready.

COVID-19 rapid test
Canada Alert app

Mass Rapid Testing & Tracing Can Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Countries like Slovakia and the United Kingdom have established mass rapid testing programs that are showing signs of success.

Stop the Spread in Weeks

A study from Harvard University and the University of Boulder shows that a well-run mass rapid testing campaign along with adequate contact tracing and sanitary measures could almost completely stop the spread of COVID-19 in less than 2 months.

Current Australian Testing Stats

One of our goals is to quickly increase daily rapid testing across Australia, starting with 200,000 rapid tests per day by the summer, to 5 million rapid tests per day by summer 2021.

Questions About COVID-19 Testing & Tracing

Currently, in Australia, there are two types of tests sold.

COVID-19 rapid antigen point-of-care tests can be only sold to businesses, institutions and other organisations. The businesses who do buy them, require a registered Australian Health Professional to administer and oversee testing, either on site or virtually.

COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests (for home use) can be purchased by anyone for use at home by individuals.

Rapid testing involves using rapid antigen tests to test large groups of people frequently, regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms to identify and stop the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing involves identifying how contagious people may have spread the virus to others via close contact, testing those people, and then isolating them if they are sick.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are the most common in Australia. These involve an uncomfortable throat or nasal swab and require you to go to a government-authorized testing facility. Your test is then sent to a local laboratory for analysis.

Depending on where in Australia you get tested for COVID-19, it could take 1-5 days to receive the results of your PCR test.  

Rapid COVID-19 antigen tests can be self-administered and return a result in 10-15 minutes

The results from Slovakia and Liverpool show that frequent testing with immediate results and isolation of infected individuals is a very effective way of curbing the pandemic.
 
Scientific models show that frequent testing and short turnaround time are more important than test sensitivity, and support widespread testing using rapid tests with results in 15 min.
 
Mass rapid testing can help identify people with COVID-19 who are infectious, including individuals who are asymptomatic or not yet displaying symptoms.
 
With as much as 75% of COVID-19 infections being asymptomatic who often fail to be tested, a mass rapid testing program will help to find these individuals and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
 
This is important because stopping the spread of COVID-19 will protect those most at-risk, quell the disease, and allow Australia to safely reopen our country.

Rapid tests, also known as antigen tests, detect proteins either at the surface of the virus, or from inside of the virus that are released after breaking up the virus using a simple soap solution.

These differ from the more common PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which detect the genetic material of the virus.

The key differences between them are processing time and test sensitivity and specificity.

Sensitivity and specificity to detect a particular condition determine how accurate a test is.

 

PCR tests have the highest technical performance and can detect viral material even when only minute amounts of viral material are present, but they are slow and require a large infrastructure.

 

Rapid tests reliably detect viral material when it is present in moderate and high concentration, but cannot detect when only minute amounts are present.

 

Which one is more accurate depends on the goal of the testing.

 

If the goal is to identify who is infectious (or expressed differently, contagious), then rapid tests are predicted to be more accurate, because they only detect higher concentrations of viruses associated with contagion. They are also much more effective at curbing the spread because they are fast and frequently used.

 

If the goal is to detect infected individuals, even the ones that have only residual viral material, and who are not contagious, then PCR tests are more accurate.

 

Because rapid tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, this has led people to criticize them out of concern that some patients may not be diagnosed correctly.

 

Based on the current performance, rapid tests have been approved to diagnose individuals from the moment symptoms appear up to five days later. Better rapid tests reach 95% sensitivity.

NO! Australia should absolutely continue PCR testing, but these should be used alongside a mass rapid testing approach.

But when it comes to public health, Australia should make use of all available tools. It's better to have a less sensitive test with results in 10-15 minutes than a more sensitive test with results 1-5 days.

Take Action to Save Lives & Safely Reopen Australia

You can help Australia stop the spread of COVID-19 with rapid testing and tracing. Begin by following the steps below to tell our leaders to get started on a solution today!

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