Lack of COVID-19 Tests Could Again Be Issue for Lupus Warriors
Lupus Warriors know all too well how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their lives. New reports now show COVID infections are rising in many European countries. Biden officials are monitoring the increase in cases in the United Kingdom, where there has been a 36% increase over the past week. Meanwhile, the amount of molecular COVID tests shipped out by major manufacturers in the United States has decreased by more than 50% over the past month.
Experts warn that if this trend continues, and Congress fails to authorize new funds, then the United States will yet again find itself with too few COVID tests. Without sufficient testing, public health officials may not be able to discover new outbreaks and variants in a timely manner, and Lupus Warriors will be without testing access when they need it most.
The Impact of Insufficient Testing
Rapid falling demand for at-home tests is leading manufacturers to cut back. “If we get to a point where companies really are turning off lines or laying off people — are not making investments in the Covid test market — and we have another surge, then we will not be ready to go,” says Tom Inglesby, White House senior adviser for Covid response.
“We will be in a situation that is potentially much worse than what we had with Omicron.”
CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, Scott Becker, states that the United States is repeating its mistakes from last summer when demand for testing drastically decreased and manufacturers slowed production. “It’s like we’ve learned absolutely nothing as a system during this pandemic,” says Becker.
Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, states it is critical that the country maintains an ability to quickly catch new COVID outbreaks, especially now that certain mitigation measures like mask mandates have been scaled back.
“I am much more worried about our surveillance than I’ve ever been.”
Manufacturing and Production Timeline
“The lack of adequate manufacturing capacity leading into and at times during the Covid-19 pandemic, contributed to testing shortages,” says Susan Van Meter, executive director of AdvaMedDx.
Testing manufacturers have told administration officials that overall demand has plummeted so much that without existing investments, such as the government’s commitment to contract for 1 billion at-home tests, they would already be shutting down lines. The government has contracted for more than 700 million of the at-home tests to date, according to the White House.
The four-week rolling average of molecular tests shipped in the United States is 4.7 million, which is down from 10.8 million just one month ago, according to shipment registries of 13 diagnostic manufacturers.
As the consensus that the U.S. is again failing to adequately prepare for at-home testing needs continues to grow, more pressure continues to build on the administration and Congress. Private companies may not manufacture enough tests without certain “incentives or price assurances”, says William Morice, president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories. As the wait for funding and assistance continues, production timelines will have to wait as well.
To support Lupus Warriors, their families, and friends, LupusCorner now offers COVID-19 testing
Over the last two years, much has changed in our understanding of COVID-19. What hasn’t changed is the central role testing plays. Fast, accurate testing helps individuals manage the spread of the virus which can keep those around them safe.
LupusCorner and Progentec Diagnostics (the company that runs LupusCorner) are excited to provide access to COVID-19 testing that can be completed from home.
- $0 out-of-pocket
- As part of the kit request process, you will answer some questions to confirm that you qualify
- RT-PCR test
- Measures presence or absence of RNA from SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), which causes the disease Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Nasal swab collection
- Collect your sample at home and ship the sample back to the lab for processing
To see if testing is available in your state and to answer any FAQ, click here.
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