Fiscal Host: OpenCovidScreen Foundation
Driving Frequent, Fast Turn-Around, Cheap & Easy ("FFCE") Screening for Safe Return-to-Work & School. More at OpenCovidScreen.org; whitepaper at http://bit.ly/waldotest.
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Problem: COVID-19 is a highly contagious pandemic disease whose hallmark is asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread. The economic & societal impact has been massive and will continue until there is an effective, widely available vaccine; this will take at least a year and possibly more. Clinical molecular testing to-date is expensive ($100+/result), slow turn-around (days), supply chain limited, and focused on symptomatic patients. Unfortunately, no commercially available test delivers the necessary properties for a safe Return-to-Work/School today.
Solution: The fastest & highest leverage way to return our economy and society to functioning is with test-enabled safe Return-to-Work/School and hotspot programs that catch inevitable occurrences before they become outbreaks, and to enable ”Test-Trace-Isolate” (TTI) that works.
These surveillance/screening results must embody “FFCE” properties to provide the needed safety net:
- Frequent – at least weekly (with sub-sampling to approximate 4 days or less)
- Fast Turn-Around – “next morning” results (or faster)
- Cheap – “less than the price of a latte” (target of <$5/result, to enable self-funding)
- Easy – self-collection: saliva-based or AN swab
Asymptomatic & pre-symptomatic surveillance/screening tests can be done effectively at much lower cost and higher distributed scale than traditional ‘clinical’ testing — rapidly identifying ‘candidate positive’ subjects for clinical testing/follow-up, and triggering trace & isolation protocols.
Next step: XPRIZE, in partnership with OpenCovidScreen, is running the COVID-19 Rapid Testing XPRIZE competition in July-September 2020 to catalyze innovation to create safe Return-to-Work/School programs that leverage ‘open source’, accurate, easy-to-use, supply-chain-diverse assays (PCR, LAMP, CRISPR, sequencing & ‘open innovation’ categories) that achieve all FFCE properties. The winning assays will complete professional clinical validation exceeding FDA EUA process, and have full categorization of sensitivity, specificity, & limit of detection (LoD), with documented procedures for distributed, consistent implementation. The competition is followed by pilots and scale deployments to drive immediate, sustained impact, both locally and globally.