More than 24,000 people have reported their COVID test results on the new NIH website

More than 24,000 people have reported their COVID test results on the new NIH website

More than 24,000 people have reported their COVID test results on the new NIH website

Tens of thousands of Americans have reported test results on the National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 website, which launched in November.

page, MakeMyTestCount.orgallows people to anonymously report the results of any brand of at-home COVID-19 test.

In updated data provided exclusively to ABC News, 24,000 people reported their test results to the site. In addition, three-quarters of results are positive tests and women are more likely than men to report a test result.

“I think there are more people getting tested for COVID right now than is reported on this website. So this is just a small raindrop in a big storm,” Sarah Elisabeth Waldman, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of infectious diseases UC Davis Medical Center, told ABC News.

When asked about differences in reporting levels between women and men, “I don’t think it’s specific to COVID. I think it’s more specific to women in general, who have higher rates of self-reporting on voluntary websites and other programs,” she added.

More than 24,000 people have reported their COVID test results on the new NIH website

Photo illustration of a government-issued home-testing kit for COVID-19.

Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images, FILE

Public health experts said it’s great that there’s a place for people to enter their test results and that more people are doing so than expected — but questions remain about self-reported data that could give scientists a better idea of ​​where the virus spreads and who is most affected.

They also cautioned that there could be bias in who tends to report test results.

“The fact that we see that three out of four reported tests are positive definitely does not mean that three out of four people are actually positive. It probably means that people are more likely to report a positive result than a negative result,” Andrew Weitz, Ph.D., program director at the NIH – in and one of the leaders of the project, he told ABC News.

But that doesn’t mean reporting home test results isn’t useful to healthcare professionals. In fact, the more results provided, the clearer their understanding of COVID in the community.

“Absolute numbers may or may not tell the whole story, but what I think the public health community will begin to better understand is how trends can help us understand that story,” Dr. Krishna Juluru, Presidential Innovation Fellow at NIH and co-leader of the project , he told ABC News.

Experts also urged the public to report their test results at home, whether positive or negative, to give health officials a better idea of ​​what’s happening in the community.

“Without negative results, we don’t have a good idea of ​​what the overall positivity rate might be and where we’re seeing real significant increases,” said Dr. Matthew Binnicker, director of the Mayo Clinic Clinical Virology Laboratory. , he told ABC News. “We must be able to determine where COVID is most present, where we are experiencing a wave [and] we need to have the total number tested, including positives and negatives, to really get a good feel for it.”

The NIH is also launching a pilot program in one county in Pennsylvania that will provide free health services for COVID-19 completely virtually. Up to 8,000 eligible residents are expected to participate in the program.

Under the program, a patient with COVID-19 could receive rapid tests, telehealth sessions and home treatments such as Paxlovid without leaving the house.

“It’s mostly focused on the home environment, but we also allow individuals to have options so if they want to pick up a test at a local community center, after a telehealth consultation, if they want to go pick up their medication at a local pharmacy, we allow that,” Juluru said.

PHOTO: FILE - A woman puts a swab in a test tube for taking an antigen test

A woman puts a swab into a test tube for antigen test extraction

Cris Cantã³n/Getty Images, FILE

Because antiviral drugs, such as Paxlovide, cannot be taken with some other drugs, patients must meet with a clinician before any therapeutics are sent home.

There are plans to expand the program to multiple other locations throughout the year.

“This is a pilot program, so we’re kind of doing it in the spirit of learning as much as possible,” Weitz said. The NIH scientists’ main goal is to “understand what works and what doesn’t and how we can improve things if this program is rolled out on a larger scale,” he added.

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