Easier, faster and cheaper COVID-19 test becoming available worldwide

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An easier, faster and much cheaper type of COVID-19 test is rolling out worldwide.

So far, getting tested for COVID-19 has meant enduring some form of nose swab. Results are usually back within days.

Now, however, the World Health Organization is rolling out a new test that can show whether someone has the virus in about 15 minutes. The rapid antigen test is as simple as spitting on a piece of paper and waiting for it to change color.

“That is the best thing about these tests, because they work very similar to pregnancy tests, you don’t need specialized personnel to run the test, or to interpret,” said Rebecca Lee Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois.

Smith told KCBS Radio that the antigen tests are not as accurate as other COVID-19 tests, giving more false negatives and false positives.

“They're not ideal tests, but rapid is what we need right now, rapid and widely available,” she said.

At least 120 million paper tests are being shipped mostly to developing countries for as little as $5 each.

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