President Biden, Don’t Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Lessons in Vaccination and Testing from a COVID-19 Testing Expert

Mehdi Maghsoodnia
5 min readFeb 3, 2021

It would be a drastic understatement to say that our country fumbled COVID-19 testing last year. I know this first-hand because I’ve worked closely on this issue in a professional capacity since the beginning of the pandemic, when my company 1health brought to market the first EUA FDA approved COVID-19 saliva test. Since then, I have watched our government give money to all sort of players who could not execute on testing, while miles away plenty of effective, university labs were running COVID-19 testing but did not have budget to expand. I have seen many state governments buy faulty antigen and antibody testing kits with low test sensitivity, only to find out that these tests missed positive patients causing community spread. I have witnessed state governments literally buying space to try to erect physical labs from scratch, instead of investing in existing labs that have operational experience and far lower risk if failure. Our country has thrown so much money at the pandemic, often without clear strategy or oversight to measure results. And now, we’re stuck relying on the same system that fumbled testing for vaccination.

Luckily, our country can learn from these mistakes. The Biden administration desperately wants to do things differently, and continues working through the vaccination and post-vaccination process, which includes more COVID-19 and emerging antibody testing. Now, I am urging the Biden administration to consider a few suggestions so that our country doesn’t walk right into the pitfalls that made COVID-19 response so agonizing in 2020.

1. President Biden, please push for innovation our testing infrastructure is as old our highway system

The U.S. has spent billions on COVID testing in the past year. There are many testing technologies out there: some require the customer to drive long distances to go to a testing center, others are dropped at your home. Some require clinical personnel with PPE to take the sample from your nose, others you can simply spit into a tube. Some run in 20 minutes, some in…