Five things to know about continuous mass testing for COVID-19


University of Illinois chemistry professor Marty Burke, along with his research team, designed an aggressive testing program to allow the university to reopen this fall. Some experts say that it should be a model for the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, researchers from more than two dozen companies are working on home-coronovirus tests that could allow that kind of consistent large-scale testing at the national level.

Here we have learned about continuous mass testing:

1. On any given day, the University of Illinois conducts approximately 2% of coronavirus tests in the US

As part of their collective testing program, the University of Illinois is conducting 20,000 tests per day – they have taken a total of more than 250,000 tests and every week, each student is tested twice. In the United States, approximately 2% of all coronavirus tests conducted each day through the university are tested.

Burke said the intensive testing program originated from modeling, what could happen if the school did not take steps to test students. Burke said, “If we put all our students back and do nothing, they predicted that they were all going to take Kovid.” “I mean it was a very humble prediction of how things were going to go. So we knew we were going to be, you know, very aggressive.”

2. School testing is based on saliva, not nasal inflammation

Burke told us that his research team, using nasal swabs, was concerned that epidemiologists at the university’s large-scale testing program said it was “way too slow, too expensive, and too cumbersome” to do so. Will happen. To solve that problem, Burke’s team designed its own saliva test.

“A great paper came out of the Yale group in April that was even more encouraging, showing that you can detect SARS-COV-2 in saliva in an even more sensitive way,” Burke said. “And so we have decided to develop a saliva-based test, which can be fast and scalable, and thus allows us to achieve our goal.”

3. Scientists are working on how to conduct the test so that it can be tested at home

There are currently no FDA-approved home-coronovirus tests for COVID-19, but more than two dozen companies are working on developing them. Orasure Technologies is one of them. Company CEO Stephen Tang told us that with the in-home test, “a person can get results in their own home in about 20 or 40 minutes, this will be done with a nasal swab. And it has read. Pregnancy test is very much like it. “

4. If used nationwide, at-home testing may be a “game-changer”

Michael Mena, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s Chain School of Public Health, said he is optimistic that at-home coronavirus tests can be successful to prevent community spread of coronovirus. “I think if we can do rapid home testing in sufficient numbers of homes, they can actually serve to stop the community spread of the virus,” he said.

“That’s how we think about vaccines that results in what we call ‘herd immunity’ … These tests can actually do the same thing. So if we can get them out of the house enough and teach people that How to use them. ” And they are very simple to use, again I think they can be a real game-changer. “

5. There are some concerns about home testing

While alternatives at home may increase access to coronovirus testing, some scientists doubt whether it will ever be approved by the FDA. They are concerned about the accuracy of the tests, whether people are able to use them properly, and those who can test positive may not report their cases to health authorities – making contact tracing more difficult Can make

However, experts agree, however, is that the US needs to test a lot more than its current rate. Now, the country is testing about 25 million per month – a new study suggests that the US should conduct around 200 million per month.

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