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It’s wrong not to test: The case for universal, frequent rapid COVID tests

2021/02/12 @ 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

Hand holding COVID-19 rapid testThis event will feature Michael Mina and be hosted by RapidTests. Learn more and register here.

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid tests are still unavailable to most of the public. Rapid antigen tests, using lateral flow devices, have been proven effective in home and community settings for identifying people who are most likely to be contagious—even in the absence of symptoms—and to empower them to isolate before unknowingly infecting others. Despite empirical evidence from across the world demonstrating the utility of rapid tests, well-intentioned academic discussions about the potential risks of false positives, false negatives, and data reporting issues continue to overshadow a devastating fact: The ongoing failure to widely deploy rapid tests can be measured in the real consequence of mounting infections, economic and social costs, morbidity, and deaths worldwide.

In this conversation and our forthcoming commentary in The Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine, we explain why it is currently inequitable and unethical not to deploy high quality rapid tests alongside existing public health interventions, including vaccinations.


  • Michael J. Mina, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Associate Medical Director, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Ishaan Desai, Research Assistant to Dr. Paul Farmer, Partners in Health and the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Louise Kenny, Executive Pro Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool
  • Desmond Nsobila Alugnoa, Programs Manager and Co-Founder, Green Africa Youth Organization
  • Maureen Johnson-León, Data Equity Specialist, COVID-19 Pandemic Modeling Consortium, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Brianna Desharnais & Emily Costanza, Research Assistants to Dr. Cherie Ramirez, Chemistry & Physics Department, College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, Simmons University
  • Cherie Lynn Ramirez, Associate Faculty, Ariadne Labs, Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health; Assistant Professor, NTT, Department of Chemistry and Physics, College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, Simmons University; Collaborator, Global Access in Action, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
  • Arthur L. Caplan, Professor of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center and founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics