Practical testing plus App combination

Here's an idea combining a possible solution for testing people that works together with a contact tracing app: - Establish a postal dispatch centre for testing kits where people can order one of two tests they can use themselves at home: (a) one to detect if they are currently infected, or (b) one that detects if they have previously been infected. - Tests for current infection (a) come with a unique random number that the person keeps after they post their sample back to the lab. After a few days, they can go to a website and use the random number to view a QR code that represents their test results. - They scan the QR code using their contact tracing app so that it automatically loads and displays the results onto their app. If they are infected, the App automatically notifies their recent contacts accordingly, and if not, the app records that they were not infected. - Antibody tests for prior infection (b) could work in the same way if they have to be posted to a lab. If they are like pregnancy tests and give instant results, then they can be photographed using the person's phone camera to upload the results into the app. To use the instant test, you'd also need to peel off a sticker on the test revealing a symbol that disappears after 5-10 minutes so that only 'fresh' results are ever uploaded. - Instead of using the UK NHSX app (which has generated privacy and IT concerns - see, this scheme could be designed to work with the new Apple/Google API so that it would also be valid internationally, although it could be made to interface with the national NHSX app for people that want to use both. Once tested, users of the new Apple/Google API-based app could use it to display a real-time traffic light type "Covid status" attesting their current infective status. As work places reopen, employers could use employees' "Covid status" to decide in real time what level of social distancing or infection mitigation measures to use. Users could upload multiple (a) tests to the app, each new one replacing the old one, but once they had a positive (b) test (e.g. they already had the virus) then they would not need any further tests.

Why the contribution is important

As is well known in the epidemiological discipline that widespread testing is crucial to virus control. This idea gives society a practical way to make real-time risk-based decisions using their actual infective status, and to anonymously communicate it with others so that socially disruptive infection mitigation can be concentrated where it's most effective. Also, concerns have been raised that the Bluetooth technology that underpins the current contact tracing apps can in some situations be inaccurate ( so this idea attempts to not rely too heavily on the contact tracing element. Finally, the Government must recognise that if people are uncomfortable with the NHSX app ( then they will simply not use it, even though low usage levels will undermine the effectiveness of the whole system. It is therefore preferable to provide a less contentious alternative so that people have a choice, especially if the NHSX app is found to have flaws.

by Iridium242 on May 05, 2020 at 05:01PM

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