‘It’s going to be a project’: Looking at unconventional efforts to ramp up our coronavirus testing ability

coronavirus test kit ew p cec a ea c a aab c eecde fit w
Credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Right now, [coronavirus] gene tests—the most accurate kind—are run only in labs or on special hospital instruments. But [biotech entrepreneur Jonathan] Rothberg’s is one of several attempts to create a test that’s simple, foolproof, and cheap enough for anyone to do at home.

About half the globe’s population is under stay-at-home orders to stall the spread of the coronavirus. The next step, ending social isolation and restarting economies, depends on monitoring and tracking the virus. And for that, we may need massive testing.

ADVERTISEMENT

Exactly how much testing is that? Commercial labs and health departments are now testing around 140,000 people a day in the US, according to the COVID Tracking Project, and they can still enlarge their operations. But under a get-back-to-work plan we will need to go much, much bigger. While there isn’t a consensus on how big, some forecasts say we should be testing millions of people every day to catch the new infections.

Related article:  Restricting trade to clamp down on coronavirus may lead to food shortages

So how soon will it be ready? [Rothberg has] challenged his team to have 10,000 prototype kits made next month, along with an accompanying phone app. “This is like conquering smallpox,” he says. “It’s going to be a project.”

Read the original post

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend