Rapid diagnostic tests (point-of-care devices) are critical components of informed patient care and public health monitoring (surveillance applications). We propose that among the many rapid diagnostics platforms that have been tested or are in development, lateral flow immunoassays and synthetic biology-based diagnostics (including CRISPR-based diagnostics) represent the best overall options given their ease of use, scalability for manufacturing, sensitivity, and specificity. This review describes the identification of lateral flow immunoassay monoclonal antibody pairs that detect and distinguish between closely related pathogens and that are used in combination with functionalized multicolored nanoparticles and computational methods to deconvolute data. We also highlight the promise of synthetic biology-based diagnostic tests, which use synthetic genetic circuits that activate upon recognition of a pathogen-associated nucleic acid sequence, and discuss how the combined or parallel use of lateral flow immunoassays and synthetic biology tools may represent the future of scalable rapid diagnostics.