NFL hopes that point-of-care testing will be developed soon

Sport

In May, the NFL anticipated that rapid-response, point-of-care COVID-19 would be developed by August. As August is arriving, there’s no indication that it will be ready in time for the start of football season. But hope persists that it will become available during the season.

Per a source with knowledge of the league’s COVID-19 program and policy, the league is monitoring advances in point of care testing. Currently used for critical-care patients, point-of-care testing generates results within 15 minutes to an hour.

The current problem with point-of-care testing is accuracy. The current accuracy rate is in the range of 80-85 percent. The off-site analysis, which BioReference Laboratories can perform in roughly 24 hours, has an accuracy rate in the range of 98 or 99 percent.

The testing consistently is improving. For the NFL, the challenge becomes holding things together until point-of-care testing improves to the point that the NFL can use it to ensure, before every practice and every game, that anyone who steps into a team facility or onto a field is negative for the virus.