Bottle of vaccine and a eprouvette with blood for covid testing

Atlanta Residents Can Join Emory University Study for Free Covid-19 Test

Many Atlanta residents are wondering how they can do their part to help in the fight against Covid-19, including accessing testing on a budget. Emory University has provided a unique opportunity for Atlanta citizens to join a study and get a free Covid-19 test at the same time.

Drip Hydration has compiled the facts for those considering the study when weighing their testing options.

What is the Emory University Covid-19 study in Atlanta?

Outlined in further detail here, Emory University is seeking local adults (18+) showing symptoms but who have NOT tested positive to participate in the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) study. The study aims to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of proposed point-of-care Covid-19 tests.

Potential candidates experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and sore throat are encouraged to apply. Students and faculty of Emory in need of testing should visit the Emory Forward website, a separate program from the study.

How does the study work?

Participants will provide a nasal swab sample for an RT-PCR test, which is considered the “Gold standard” test in terms of accuracy. This test will be used to determine if the person has Covid-19; results processed by the Emory Healthcare Medical Lab will be made available within 48 hours.

Additional samples will be taken to be run through other types of tests being developed for use by the general public, which you can read more about here. This may include one or more of the following: throat swab, saliva swab, and/or a different type of nasal swab.

Why should I participate?

We’ve assembled a Pros/Cons list for anyone considering participating in the study. Anyone interested in participating can schedule an appointment here.


  • Covid-19 testing is free through this Atlanta, GA based study
  • Results within 48 hours (vs. typical 3 business days for RT-PCR)
  • You can make a positive impact in the fight against Covid-19
  • Participants will receive a gift card of an unspecified amount


  • Must have symptoms and no previous positive test within 14 days to qualify
  • Many may find supplying multiple samples invasive and uncomfortable
  • Adults only, meaning families with minors will need an additional testing resource
  • Testing is by appointment only, from 8 am – 4 pm at the Northlake Mall, which may be challenging for those with unforgiving schedules
  • Testing at a central location during set daytime hours can increase your risk of exposure to Covid-19, making this option less desirable for those in the high risk category (such as elderly, pregnant, and immunocompromised individuals) and those in their social bubbles

What other testing options are available?

We have previously reviewed the testing options available to Atlanta-area residents and have discussed DIY home testing kits in detail.

To summarize:

  • The Georgia Department of Health has a list of free testing locations by county here
  • The Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) has a list of free testing locations for limited counties here
  • Many clinics, drive-in centers, community centers, urgent care centers, and some university campuses are offering free or low cost Covid-19 testing
  • DIY kits are available for retail purchase, but vary greatly in accuracy and result timetable depending on manufacturer. It is also important to note not all tests are FDA approved
  • Independent medical services such as Drip Hydration will send a medical professional to your home to administer the test in your home. These services are not free and not always covered by insurance, but offer peace of mind and convenience

Let Drip Hydration Help You Do Your Part

Even if the price is within your means, it can be tough to consider testing options beyond what is available free of charge. But as Georgia experiences a new Covid-19 spike, Atlanta’s free testing options have been pushed to the breaking point. Taking advantage of the convenience and safety of in-home testing relieves some of the burden on public services trying desperately to stop the spread.

Our services also may be more affordable than you think. We offer group discounts up to 5 people per in-home visit, and PPO health insurance holders may be able to obtain partial reimbursement. You can book an appointment online as little as 24 hours in advance. Drip Hydration is proud to offer services to Atlanta residents that help stop the spread of Covid-19.