Thailand Recovery Fund was founded to provide effective solutions during times of crisis, emergencies, and natural disasters. Established during the COVID crisis, we have worked to provide immediate response to outbreaks, educate the public, and provide effective solutions to address the crisis.
Our current focus is to reduce the spread of COVID through distribution of Rapid Antigen Test Kits (ATKs) to low-income, high-risk communities across Bangkok. For this project, Socialgiver is working in collaboration with Rama Hospital (Mahidol University), Department of Medical services (Ministry of Health), Yuvabadhana Foundation, Covid Relief Bangkok, Thai Care, Nat Aniporn Potter (Miss Universe Thailand 2015), and Zero Covid Thailand.
Hospitals across Thailand have been operating over capacity for many months, both in receiving the high number of cases as well as in testing for COVID. RT PCR, although highly sensitive, requires potentially infectious people to travel to testing sites, wait in line, and takes 1-2 days to return results, leading to further spread of COVID through increased contact with other high-risk individuals.
On the contrary, testing via an Antigen Test Kit (ATK) can be done by everyone at home with the potential to test more frequently than the PCR test due to much cheaper cost. This means that ATK testing can be mixed into people's daily lifestyle, but another underlying reason is that ATKs only show test results as positive only when an infected person is contagious. Another key advantage is the rapid results, which helps people identify risks quickly, limiting spread even faster.
A Harvard study revealed that widespread twice-weekly testing with a rapid but less sensitive test reduced the degree of infectiousness, or R0 (“R naught”), of the virus by 80%, while twice-weekly testing with a more sensitive PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which takes up to 48 hours to return results, reduced infectiousness by only 58%. Rapid testing with ATK reduces infectiousness better than the slower, more sensitive PCR test.
The added benefit of at-home ATK testing is to limit further spread from traveling to/from and waiting at testing sites, as well as reducing the workload on healthcare professionals during this ongoing crisis in Thailand. According to how Slovakia deployed countrywide testing, if we can isolate infected individuals from the community by testing 2 times within a week, COVID spread was cut around 70%.
About Thailand Recovery Fund Phase 1
Thailand Recovery Fund recognizes the importance of providing access to cheap (and/or free) ATKs to solve the crisis at the source by limiting spread. We believe that preventing spread is the most important, most effective strategy to combat this crisis, which would lead to better health and economic outcomes for the entire country.
Our project therefore aims to achieve the following objectives:
To distribute free ATKs to 40,000 persons
To monitor the results of ATKs in real environments to measure its effectiveness in reducing COVID spread in Thai communities
To campaign for the government to recognize the importance and effectiveness of weekly testing, and propose suitable strategies to fight COVID
To facilitate importing, distribution, and sale of affordable but effective ATKs
Thailand Recovery Fund is currently fundraising to purchase and distribute 200,000 ATKs to low-income high-risk communities.
In addition, the results of this donation will be monitored by a team of researchers in a study titled “The impact of SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Testing Kit screening in the Bangkok community to prevent outbreaks” with around 10 communities receiving 8 kits each for twice-weekly testing and 30 communities receiving 4 kits each for weekly testing. This research project will be supervised by 5 researchers including:
Dr. Gasit Saksirisampant from Ramathibodi Hospital
Dr. Leshan Wannigama from Chulalongkorn University
Dr. Katika Akksilp from the Department of Medical Services
Mr. Soham Sankaran from Cornell University
Zero Covid Thailand
A record system for this research is being conducted by Thai Care (www.thai.care) who will collect data and results of this study over a period of 2 months.