CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — One pandemic is bad enough, but health experts and companies are bracing themselves for a possible “tripledemic.”
The New York Times reported over the weekend that the annual winter rise in COVID-19 cases could coincide with flu season to create a “twindemic” or even a “tripledemic” when adding RSV to the mix. While all three viruses have similar symptoms – a fever, cough and congestion – they require very different treatment methods. This makes it important to quickly identify which of these viruses someone has if they exhibit symptoms.
University of Illinois-affiliated SHIELD T3 is readying for the tripledemic possibility with a new saliva PCR test. The entire SHIELD organization as a whole was formed to test for COVID-19 and the new test still does. But the new test also analyzes saliva samples for flu and RSV as well.
“Given the current state of the pandemic, when you’re sick these days, you have no idea what you have,” said Bill Jackson, Shield T3’s principal officer of Shield T3. “It could just be a cold, but it could be something, like COVID, that requires you to isolate. This test gives our customers a quicker answer.”
The testing kit, which is no larger than a wallet, requires users to provide a small sample of saliva that can be mailed back to one of SHIELD T3’s labs. Test results would be determined and sent to the user within 24 hours.
However, the test is not widely available yet, currently being offered to universities, K-12 schools and private employers. Kits cost $70, but CEO David Clark hopes that the price can go down as time goes on and as they expand their testing capabilities further.
“In terms of being able to offer tests to test for more respiratory conditions, more viral conditions as we move forward, I think that testing will get better around variants as we go forward also,” Clark said.
More information about the three-virus tests and the company can be found on SHIELD T3’s website.