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Study: Cheaper, faster COVID-19 testing underway in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Faster COVID-19 results from pop-up testing is underway again in the Mission District.

Those testing are getting both the more complex and reliable PCR tests which detects genetic material, and the quicker cheaper binax rapid test which looks for proteins of the virus.

“As a screening test, to screen for disease of those who have no symptoms, no one has been sure how well it works in these wide-open community settings,” said UCSF infectious disease virologist Dr. George Rutherford.

While previously believed to be less reliable, a small UCSF study conducted during similar testing back in September found these rapid protein tests were accurate in 14 out of 15 people who were infected.

“This study provides compelling data that these protein or antigen tests work as the high-end genetic tests,” Dr. Rutherford added.

Because the protein tests are so much cheaper and results can be determined so much quicker, it could really make a difference in slowing the spread of the disease.

“What we are trying to do here with testing is to find out who is infectious and get them isolated, so this helps us get to them faster.”

Dr. Rutherford was not part of the UCSF study but says he is encouraged by it though he does say more testing will need to be done to determine just how robust this testing method is.

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