COVID-19 Rapid Test & Take Home Tests:
Why we don't use or offer them for Employee COVID-19 Testing Events
Why We Don’t Use Rapid Tests or Take Home Tests
July 30, 2020
Several times a week we are asked by the Businesses and groups we serve if our company provides a rapid
test or take-home self-test option for their employees.
I understand the impetus for wanting such a product, and there is a great need for rapid test and take
home test options, because they would help keep businesses up and running. Employers managing a
potential breakout among staff, concerned about potential exposure or looking for a path to reopening
depend on results to make critical decisions. Waiting for lab results, which are only as valid as the day the
sample is collected, and delaying decisions is costly and destabilizing.
Businesses that are onboarding risk as employees interact with customers see rapid testing as a way to reduce
the chances of having an asymptomatic employee at work and ensure any breakout is quickly contained. Two
things a 24-72 hour lab test turnaround time cannot accomplish.
Rapid test and self-test options will solve myriad issues and free businesses to further normalize their
operations, plan and forecast with greater certainty. Unfortunately though, every rapid test available today
is plagued by reliability issues and false negative results. There are myriad studies and all of them conclude
that rapid tests are the least accurate and that the tests are unreliable.
Take home tests have their own issues. Self-administered collection of a viable sample is far less likely than
when performed by a trained medical professional and often result in rejected test samples. For critical or
risk averse businesses self-tests provide no means of validating that the sample belongs to the person
submitting to testing. And the better self-tests require a telemedicine consultation making the service
expensive, complex and time consuming.
In the current environment companies depend on test results to make monumental decisions that are literally
life and death for both people and the business. Testing methods and test results must be reliable and the
only tests DHS offers or will consider offering are those that meet the highest standards.
Our position is that any inaccurate and unreliable test should be taken off the market. The fact that almost all
of the unreliable rapid test and take home test kits have an EUA clearance can be confusing because the
assumption is that if the FDA “cleared” the test it should be good. That is not the case. An EUA test is not
reviewed by the FDA for accuracy at all. An EUA indicates only that the proper paperwork and process was
completed by the test maker.
In time the current offering of rapid COVID-19 tests will be gone from the market as their EUA expires and test
makers are unable to prove their products are accurate. In the interim we will continue to provide services
using the same vetting we’ve always applied to any product or service we provide at DHS; If we would not use
it for our families and loved- ones we will not offer it to our clientele.
The tests we use, ThermoFisher TeqPath, Rosche CoV-2 Assay and the Diazyme Serum Antibody Test for CoV-2
are the best on the market. If a more reliable test comes to market we will switch to that. In consideration of
what’s at stake I recommend we all hold ourselves to the same high standard. The best, most accurate test is
the right one for all of us.