The evolution of medical challenges has made scientific innovation a vital part of human existence. Discovery of new tests and medical solutions is rampant, now more than ever, and a notable tool of discovery during the most challenging time in the world is the lateral flow tests.
Amid discoveries, innovations, and all the exciting medical progressions lies a big concern: sustainability. Today, it has become hard to ignore how the designing and manufacturing of tests affect the environment. If you are an environmental enthusiast, order lateral flow tests here and contribute to sustainability without compromising your safety.
Read on to get informed about the sustainable aspects of lateral flow tests and how the rapid tests have made things easier for the world.
The Use Of Lateral Flow Tests
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, lateral flow tests remained hidden for billions of the world’s population that would later use them upon the onset of the pandemic. Lateral flow tests became a hard-to-miss inflection point in the diagnosis of COVID-19, making them increasingly popular around the globe,
While there is a decrease in the rate of COVID-19 testing in 2023, there are still significant numbers of people who are still getting tested. For instance, in the week of 2nd August to 8th August of 2023, over 32,000 people were tested for coronavirus in England, showing a slight rise in testing from the previous week.
Lateral flow tests are vital in detecting COVID-19 and are instrumental in targeted testing. Also, lateral flow tests are popular amongst the public since they are easily accessible and available for order in different stores.
Materials Used In Lateral Flow Tests
Lateral flow tests feature a combination of materials carefully designed to produce rapid and accurate results during COVID-19 tests. Some of the materials in lateral flow tests are:
The sample pad features an absorbent material used to help draw the sample up to the nitrocellulose membrane.
The nitrocellulose membrane is a vital component of the lateral flow test and contains control lines and capture antibodies. For support, there is a plastic backing to laminate the nitrocellulose membrane.
Apart from the sample pad, the lateral flow test also contains the absorbent pad on the opposite side of the membrane to draw the fluid during the test. It also features a wicking pad that regulates the fluid movement speed to ensure the effectiveness of the test.
Control and Test Lines
The control line serves the role of ensuring the functionality of the test. It must be present regardless of the presence of the virus. The test line is targeted to the specific analyte being tested and is visible when the test analyte is present.
The cassette provides essential support to guide the fluid to the appropriate test components. The cassette is mainly made of plastic.
The buffer solution regulates the ions and the pH of the sample. Typically, the user adds the buffer solution to the test sample before conducting the test.
Lateral Flow Tests And Sustainability
Many factors influence the sustainability of lateral flow tests, such as the specific type of materials used in designing the tests and the methods of disposal after use. The designing of lateral flow tests during the COVID-19 pandemic was within a short time, making it hard for manufacturers to consider all the issues regarding the sustainability of using lateral flow tests. Below are some of the sustainable aspects of lateral flow tests:
The Ease To Dispose
Due to the simplified design of lateral flow tests, they are easier to dispose of compared to other COVID-19 tests. They only contain a plastic cassette and a paper strip, making them easy to dispose of after use.
Health Care Resource Consumption
The fast results of lateral flow tests promote sustainable healthcare resource use by allowing early intervention and isolation in the event of positive COVID-19 results. In addition, laboratory structures that would have been used for the traditional COVID-19 test can be diverted to other medical tests.
Lateral flow tests do not require laboratory resources. The rapid tests do not consume high energy levels, making them friendly to energy consumption.
Lateral Flow Tests Progress
Lateral flow tests have eased testing in many ways, such as convenience and availability to those with COVID-19 symptoms. They have, therefore, changed the game for testing and continue to make tremendous contributions to the medical industry. However, it is essential to note that there are a few gaps to fill regarding lateral flow tests and sustainability, such as single-use plastic contributing to plastic waste.
It is worth noting that manufacturers, in collaboration with the UK government, have made specific efforts to promote sustainability and reduce the waste problem. For example, there have been changes in the lateral flow test design, such as the plastic cassette’s shrinking and the swab’s shortening.
Therefore, lateral flow tests have made strides towards sustainability by re-designing the product and organizing research for further sustainability, such as the question about recycling the tests to reduce waste.