LOS ANGELES TIMES:

Pooled COVID-19 Testing Could Help Reopen Schools Safely

By The Times Editorial Board
December 02, 2020

Vaccine or no, testing and tracing COVID-19 infections will be crucial to returning America fully to work and school.

It’s a key area where the Trump administration has let the country down and something that President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to fix with a major surge of new testing capacity.

But even many countries that have committed to an aggressive testing regime are finding it extremely expensive and time-consuming. In response, some have relied on a method that isn’t much talked about in the United States, though it’s well understood: Pooling the lab samples of several people at once. With new evidence showing its effectiveness — as well as potential weaknesses if it isn’t done correctly — pooling is something the Biden administration should seriously explore, especially as a way of reopening schools once the current surge subsides.

Pooling samples is exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes it involves using the samples from nasal and throat swabs, or in its simpler form, collecting saliva in cups and mixing it, usually from five people at a time, sometimes more. If the test comes up negative, all the people are considered clear of infection. If not, everyone in the group is retested individually. It can dramatically cut down the number of tests that need to be performed, which means far less cost and less straining of capacity.

Some private schools, such as Duke University, have been using it in the United States and have stayed open without outbreaks. On a much larger scale, China used it to test almost the entire population of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified in December. That’s 11 million people.

Yet pooled testing has been rare in the United States. In part, that’s for good reason: The testing is effective only when infection rates are low — because that means less chance of needing to retest each person in a group — and for the most part, we’re falling short.

The tests can be highly accurate, but that depends on how the testing is done and how many people are in each pool. Overloading the pools would yield too many false-negative results because multiple clean samples in the pool can dilute an infected one below the test’s ability to detect the virus.

Still, this is an especially promising avenue for schools, where infection rates appear to have stayed on the low side, compared with the general population. By bringing down costs, students could be tested more often, making everyone feel safer about reopening campuses. We’re still hoping not to lose the entire academic year.

“Testing is the purposeful pursuit of knowledge and understanding a window providing visibility into the disease,” said Leslie Titus Bryant, Spokesperson from Spectrum Solutions, medical device manufacturer of the first EUA authorized saliva collection device for COVID-19 testing. “Without it, we wouldn’t be able to identify the source of a person’s illness or make any informed decisions on a forward treatment path. In a state of emergency like with COVID-19, testing is also able to provide a larger state of health risk assessment by mapping progression, rates of spread, track immunity patterns and identify high-risk factors.” 

Spectrum Solutions Saliva Device Manufacturing SDNA-1000 Injection Molding

An employee at Spectrum Solutions of Salt Lake City displays tubes used in coronavirus saliva test kits. (George Frey / Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES TIMES:

Pooled COVID-19 Testing Could Help Reopen Schools Safely

By The Times Editorial Board
December 02, 2020

Vaccine or no, testing and tracing COVID-19 infections will be crucial to returning America fully to work and school.

It’s a key area where the Trump administration has let the country down and something that President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to fix with a major surge of new testing capacity.

But even many countries that have committed to an aggressive testing regime are finding it extremely expensive and time-consuming. In response, some have relied on a method that isn’t much talked about in the United States, though it’s well understood: Pooling the lab samples of several people at once. With new evidence showing its effectiveness — as well as potential weaknesses if it isn’t done correctly — pooling is something the Biden administration should seriously explore, especially as a way of reopening schools once the current surge subsides.

Pooling samples is exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes it involves using the samples from nasal and throat swabs, or in its simpler form, collecting saliva in cups and mixing it, usually from five people at a time, sometimes more. If the test comes up negative, all the people are considered clear of infection. If not, everyone in the group is retested individually. It can dramatically cut down the number of tests that need to be performed, which means far less cost and less straining of capacity.

Some private schools, such as Duke University, have been using it in the United States and have stayed open without outbreaks. On a much larger scale, China used it to test almost the entire population of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified in December. That’s 11 million people.

Yet pooled testing has been rare in the United States. In part, that’s for good reason: The testing is effective only when infection rates are low — because that means less chance of needing to retest each person in a group — and for the most part, we’re falling short.

The tests can be highly accurate, but that depends on how the testing is done and how many people are in each pool. Overloading the pools would yield too many false-negative results because multiple clean samples in the pool can dilute an infected one below the test’s ability to detect the virus.

Still, this is an especially promising avenue for schools, where infection rates appear to have stayed on the low side, compared with the general population. By bringing down costs, students could be tested more often, making everyone feel safer about reopening campuses. We’re still hoping not to lose the entire academic year.

“Testing is the purposeful pursuit of knowledge and understanding a window providing visibility into the disease,” said Leslie Titus Bryant, Spokesperson from Spectrum Solutions, medical device manufacturer of the first EUA authorized saliva collection device for COVID-19 testing. “Without it, we wouldn’t be able to identify the source of a person’s illness or make any informed decisions on a forward treatment path. In a state of emergency like with COVID-19, testing is also able to provide a larger state of health risk assessment by mapping progression, rates of spread, track immunity patterns and identify high-risk factors.” 

Spectrum Solutions Saliva Device Manufacturing SDNA-1000 Injection Molding

An employee at Spectrum Solutions of Salt Lake City displays tubes used in coronavirus saliva test kits. (George Frey / Getty Images)

Los Angeles Times - Pooled COVID-19 Testng - Spectrum Solutions

Read the full article at the LA-Times.com

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Who is Spectrum Solutions?

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Spectrum Solutions is a life science and medical device manufacturing company that focuses its fully-integrated industry expertise on creating forward-looking and scalable end-to-end solutions for clinical diagnostic projects and commercialized product plans. Spectrum is a single-source provider of innovative medical device engineering & product manufacturing, molding, chemical formulation, packaging design, customized kitting, & direct-to-user fulfillment. Its bio-sample collection devices, patented technologies, and dedicated services deliver measurable process optimization, unprecedented efficiency, and unmatched global scalability.

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Leslie Titus Bryant Spectrum Solutions SpokesmanSpectrum Corporate Spokesman
Leslie Titus Bryant
Director of Marketing & Brand
admin@spectrumsolution.com

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Get to Know Our #PartoftheSolution

Who is Spectrum Solutions?

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Spectrum Solutions is a life science and medical device manufacturing company that focuses its fully-integrated industry expertise on creating forward-looking and scalable end-to-end solutions for clinical diagnostic projects and commercialized product plans. Spectrum is a single-source provider of innovative medical device engineering & product manufacturing, molding, chemical formulation, packaging design, customized kitting, & direct-to-user fulfillment. Its bio-sample collection devices, patented technologies, and dedicated services deliver measurable process optimization, unprecedented efficiency, and unmatched global scalability.

#partoftheSolution

Leslie Titus Bryant Spectrum Solutions SpokesmanSpectrum Corporate Spokesman
Leslie Titus Bryant
Director of Marketing & Brand
admin@spectrumsolution.com

Tim Rush Public Relations, Springboard 5Media Contact
Tim Rush, Springboard5
801-208-1100
tim.rush@springboard5.com

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Health is a dynamic state of wellbeing. Healthcare providers and researchers have long believed that changes in our saliva record our ongoing state-of-health story. This encrypted source of individual truth, and how to best use it, delivers us all a quicker path to informed decisions and treatments free of adverse reactions.

Interestingly, saliva acts as a wide resource of genomic information useful for identifying and monitoring in real-time a disease as well as its state of progression. Additionally, saliva analysis looks at the cellular level, the biologically active compounds, making saliva a true representative of what is clinically relevant.

Spectrum’s technically-superior saliva collection systems have not only been engineered to lead the saliva collection industry in molecular diagnostics and clinical research applications but deliver the safest, most robust biomaterial for the earliest detection and diagnosis of disease and infection.

  • Saliva provides the earliest path to critical detection and diagnosis
  • First EUA authorized saliva collection device for COVID-19 testing & authorized device for direct-to-patient at-home sample self-collection
  • Used in supervised & unsupervised sample collection LDT workflows of symptomatic & asymptomatic users
  • Pain-free, non-invasive, & safe – ideal for those needing frequent & repeat testing
  • In-device live virus inactivation at ambient temps (COVID-19 EUA validated data)
  • Eliminates any need for hood containment offering immediate sample processing upon arrival
  • Removes the need for any temperature-controlled storage or transport of samples 
  • Single device for DNA & viral RNA applications 
  • Safest collection approach & most robust biomaterial for detecting COVID-19
  • Delivers 99.998% highest levels of testing accuracy & sensitivity
  • Formulation identifies infections at its earliest stage from as few as 200 copies/ml (lateral flow rapid tests need 10,000-20,000 copies/ml)
  • A single preserved saliva sample provides opportunity for multiple tests
  • Over 10 days of post-collection stability with no degradation in sample efficacy
  • System maintains critical bio-sample consistency 
  • Mass-testing scalability & easy device integration using validated and supported processes
  • Mitigates any risk of infection throughout the testing process 
  • Pinpoint life-cycle stage of active viral infection
  • Eliminate UN3373 biohazard shipping designation with clearance from USPS, FedEx, & UPS
  • Delivers the highest levels of testing accuracy using qualified extraction chemistries
  • Chemistry enables easy extraction & purification for a maximum sensitivity boost
  • Proteins present in blood are also present in saliva from fluid leakage at the gum line
  • Saliva contains the entire library of proteins, hormones, antibodies, and other molecular compounds measured in routine blood tests
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