‘It’s about time’: Local doctors say surge in at-home tests will help in fight against COVID-19 – WSB-TV Channel 2

0
74


ATLANTA — Ashley Chen says he and his fully vaccinated family in Forsyth County are excited for a more normal Christmas this year.

“Last year, we kind of avoided any kind of gatherings,” Chen said. “We expect it to be way more normal than that than last year.

More gatherings among the more than 5 million unvaccinated Georgians could add to more cases this winter.

That’s why President Joe Biden is pushing at-home testing by announcing the tests will be free if you have private insurance.

“It’s about time,” was Dr. Harry Heiman’s reaction to the news.

Heiman is a professor and program director with Georgia State University’s School of Public Health.

He told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that more access to testing is key while nearly half of Georgia’s residents are unvaccinated.

Even after Biden’s announcement, costs for the at-home tests will be reimbursed through insurance.

“Many public health experts have been proposing for months that we dramatically ramp up the availability, accessibility and affordability of home testing,” Heiman said.

TRENDING STORIES:

At Georgia Tech, researcher Fatih Sarioglu and his team are developing their own advanced at-home COVID-19 tests.

Right now, at-home tests are not as reliable as standard PCR tests that require more equipment.

“At-home tests are great, easy to use, but they are limited to very simple chemistry,” Sarioglu said.

He told Johnson that he is working to change that.

Sarioglu said his tests use different technology to detect the virus in ways more comparable to PCR tests, while still being portable.

“It’s really our goal to be able to have a real impact on people’s lives by helping with these kinds of tests,” Sarioglu said.

For the Chen family, the at-home tests are one more tool they may use this month while planning the holidays with family.

“You can kind of feel easy about the people who are in your home that day,” Chen said.

As for people without private health insurance, there will be a…