In parallel with Marty Romeo’s work a team of www.EndCoronaVirus.org members including Christian DiPaola MD and Cassidy Mentus Ph.D have developed a “batch testing” method to do more testing with less resources. The testing method was inspired by a World War II protocol used to rapidly identify members of the military with communicable diseases such as syphilis.
The premise is this:
Take a large group of potentially at risk individuals (nursing home, prison) who may have been exposed to virus. You take nasal swabs of all individuals (let’s say it’s 500). You then divide the swabs into lots of 250 each. Your run the 250 swab groups in aggregate. In other words you dump one group of 250 swabs into one “bucket” of reagents and the other group into another and then test the groups as a two separate wholes.
If one of the batches of 250 is negative you know that all of the people in that batch are negative. By process of elimination you have now tested 250 people in one fell swoop.
Let’s say the other group comes of positive. Then you test them again after splitting them in 2 groups. You keep repeating and whittling it down until you have honed in on the positive targets. You can test far greater numbers with, less tests with this strategy.
In populations where the prevalence of virus is low this process significantly cuts down on resources necessary to run tests on all of the patients.
I will publish a screencast soon describing the concept in more detail