Professor O'Neill says a university in the US has shown how vending machines can be used as part of rapid COVID-19 testing.
The University of California in San Diego has introduced vending machines that allow students to take a PCR test.
The tests are free of charge for those with a student ID, and results come back within 12 hours.
In Hong Kong, meanwhile, authorities have installed vending machines at subway stations that dispense free test kits.
On today's Pat Kenny Show, Professor O'Neill - immunologist at Trinity College - said it shows how testing can be 'ramped up' quickly and effectively, and is something Ireland should be doing too.
Professor O'Neill said: “When I read that, I thought ‘why aren’t we getting these vending machines?’ Obviously it’s logistically difficult… but it just shows you how you can have rapid testing.
“You just need guts to do it… if we just bit the bullet and got widespread, universal testing established it would have a huge impact on this virus."
Elsewhere, Professor O'Neill explained that modelling from the UK 'strongly suggests' COVID-19 death rates plummet as vulnerable groups are vaccinated.
The models show that focusing on nine priority groups could see a '99% decrease' in the death rate.
Professor O'Neill said the UK modelling has to be ‘taken with a pinch of salt’ because they are predictions - but it is nonetheless a very important study.
He explained: "If the top four [priority groups] get vaccinated, there’ll be a 90% impact on the death rate, which is huge. If you vaccinate the top nine, there’s a 99% decrease in death rate.
“Yet again it rams home: get the vaccine into people’s arms as quickly as we physically can. This modelling strongly suggests the death rate will begin to plummet."
Tips for lockdown
Professor O'Neill also shared tips for coping during the winter lockdown.
He said: “In March and April, the weather was great… even though it was difficult, people got through that. In the winter it’s a different story, because it’s so dark and cold.
“It’s worth reminding people: any kind of sunshine [is beneficial], get into the sunshine even though it’s weak.
“The exercise is so important. There’s a study showing even 15 minutes of exercise is good for the immune system.
“There’s a study showing commuting is sort of good for you, as you have time to think… if you’re working from home, have a 20 minute walk around the block."
While Zoom calls may be 'tormenting' many people, Professor O'Neill says the video service has gotten better in many ways.
He explained: "You can now do a murder mystery [party] by Zoom.
“There’s life drawing by Zoom, there’s pottery classes. I would recommend people who are on Zoom… go on in a creative way.
“Concerts are great - you can now look at live events through live-streaming. We saw the pantomime was live-streamed… the possibilities have grown since the previous lock down."
He said there are also 'fantastic resources' available for children through the websites of NASA or Ireland's various museums - so there's 'no shame' in letting kids have a little more screen time during the lockdown.