Coronavirus

Watch: A Harvard doctor on why at-home COVID-19 testing could be key to stopping the spread

“We would start to see immediate effects."

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“Test often” was the message a Harvard epidemiology professor had for the U.S. government, even as all eyes are on the COVID-19 vaccine.

With the vaccine still months away for most, Dr. Michael Mina told Fareed Zakaria of CNN that government investment in widespread antigen testing via paper-strip tests, taken at home, administered “every few days” could be the key to help stopping virus spread. He noted that people could test themselves twice a week, and if positive, could isolate or change their behaviors to cut down on the transmission to others.

“Empower people in America, and across the world, to know that they are positive,” he said. “And we can do this with very simple, cheap, inexpensive tests that can be produced in the millions.”

These are not the tests administered at hospitals or medical professionals, and don’t have the level of accuracy as those. But from a public health perspective, Mina said frequent testing is important.

Such a testing strategy would curb the spread in just a few weeks, he said.

“We would start to see immediate effects,” Mina said.

The Harvard epidemiologist has been advocating for antigen tests for months. Investing in widespread, frequent antigen testing would mean reducing the spread of the virus without relying on lockdowns to tamp down on rising cases, he’s argued.

Watch the full interview:

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