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Rapid COVID-19 testing is key for your business or organization

Jon Terenzetti

August 10, 20215 minutes


On September 9, 2021, the Biden Administration mandated that companies with more than 100 employees vaccinate or test weekly for COVID-19. To accomplish this daunting task at scale, companies are using the BELLA Health™ app mentioned in our post below, which uses LivePerson’s Conversational AI to guide employees through rapid, self-administered, FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests, with the ability to message with live support when needed.

In the fight against COVID-19, we currently have access to three major lines of defense: Vaccines, Testing, and PPE. Together, these tools can help protect us and minimize spread.

Why do we need to leverage multiple tactics? Well, experts like to call it the swiss cheese model. No one line of defense is flawless or impenetrable, especially as we see more contagious variants of COVID-19 like Delta emerge. So instead, we think of them as a slice of swiss cheese: fairly solid and opaque, but with some holes in it. When we line up a few slices back to back, the holes disappear!

Vaccination rates are improving, but alone will not stop the spread

masked nurse giving vaccination to woman

Vaccinations in the US are picking up pace. This month, the US hit a milestone of 50% of citizens at least partially vaccinated. But with inconsistent mask usage across the country, a slow-down in testing, and many Americans still unvaccinated — including ineligible children — some of those holes are widening again. The result? Another spike in cases and hospitalizations across the country, especially among the unvaccinated.

So what do we do now? We’ve had a taste of freedom. A taste of normal. And especially for those who have chosen to get vaccinated, it can leave a sense of helplessness as cases spike and restrictions tighten again.

Luckily, medical experts have been hard at work in the past year and a half developing tests to detect COVID-19. The two broad types of tests are PCRs and Rapid-Antigen tests. The PCR test is an extremely efficacious test that is administered by a healthcare professional and processed in a lab, with results available within a few days. While these are highly effective, especially with proper quarantining, they are not particularly scalable as a solution due to the requirement for professional support, lab availability, and high cost of over $100 per test.

Widespread and frequent testing can move us in the right direction

Man self-administering a rapid Covid-19 test

Rapid-antigen tests may be key in finding a scalable solution that can get people back to work, play, and more.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • They’re great at determining contagiousness: Rapid COVID-19 tests are highly efficacious — around 90%! While it’s true they can’t catch every instance of COVID-19, no test can. Fortunately, they are highly effective when it comes to active infections, due to the viral load. This means that they are very good at catching infections that are actively contagious.
  • They’re inexpensive: At just a few dollars per test, rapid tests are easily the most affordable option to scale.
  • They give fast results: While PCR tests typically require at least 24 hours (and as much as 10 days in peak times when labs were overwhelmed), rapid tests give results in minutes.
  • They are self-administrable: Rapid COVID-19 tests are easy to administer, and with more and more providers entering the market, it’s easy to get them right at home. Plus, with easy-to-understand results, test takers can feel confident that they’ve interpreted things correctly.

What can this mean for businesses? Increased peace of mind. 86% of Americans report that they would be willing to regularly self-test. And studies show that if just 50% of the population did a rapid test every other day, we would dramatically slow the spread of COVID-19. By creating a routine, rapid COVID-19 testing program for employees, including company-provided, at-home rapid tests, clear protocols around remote work in instances of symptoms or positive tests, and clear expectations around vaccinations and use of PPE, employees and customers alike can start to reclaim a sense of normalcy.

“If millions of people tested themselves at home at least twice a week, we would start to see dramatic reductions in cases within a month or two.”

~ Dr. Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology, Harvard University

A rapid COVID-19 testing program for your business or organization

Bella Health app illustration

Ready to start a rapid COVID-19 testing program? LivePerson and the BELLA Health™ app provide a complete, at-home rapid-testing solution for your organization. A combination of approved rapid COVID-19 tests for employers, guided self-administration, and access to experts through messaging and Conversational AI allow you to increase employee and customer confidence in returning to your place of business.

1. Peto, T. et al. (2021). COVID-19: Rapid Antigen detection for SARS-CoV-2 by lateral flow assay: a national systematic evaluation for mass-testing. Preprint at medRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.13.21249563
2. Covid Collaborative. (2021 February 24). New National Study Shows Strong, Bipartisan Support to Make Rapid COVID-19 Testing Free and Widely Available [Press release]. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-national-study-shows-strong-bipartisan-support-to-make-rapid-covid-19-testing-free-and-widely-available-301234042.html
3. Baqaee, D., Farhi, E., Mina, M.J., & Stock, J.H. (2020). Reopening Scenarios, National Bureau of Economic Research, 16. https://www.doi.org/10.3386/w27244