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

Our Team, Helping your Team, get Back in the Game!

How you collect saliva makes a big diagnostic difference.
Real-world mass testing scenarios require an authorized, proven, and supported system that mitigates any risk of exposure and a company that holds a blackbelt in scalability.
Get your business back in the game.

blank

PROUD PARTNER OF MLB

™/© 2020 MLB

Our Team, Helping Your Team, Get Back in the Game!

How you collect saliva makes a big diagnostic difference. To incorporate the use of saliva into COVID-19 diagnostic testing protocols or implement actual real-world mass-testing in scalable scenarios requires an authorized, proven, validated, and supported system that actually mitigates risk of exposure and a device engineered to increase testing accuracy. Get your business back in the game.

Providing the test kits helping keep MLB™ stars on the field.

PROUD PARTNER OF MLB

blank

Get to know our #partofthesolution

About Spectrum Solutions and Spectrum DNA

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Spectrum Solutions and its medical device and services division, Spectrum DNA, focus their concentrated industry expertise on engineering innovative end-to-end solutions for both clinical diagnostic projects and commercial product plans. A single-source provider of on-site medical device development and manufacturing, custom packaging, kitting, and direct-to-consumer fulfillment. Its biosample 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

Get to know our #partofthesolution

ABOUT SPECTRUM SOLUTIONS AND SPECTRUM DNA

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Spectrum Solutions and its medical device and services division, Spectrum DNA, focus their concentrated industry expertise on engineering innovative end-to-end solutions for both clinical diagnostic projects and commercial product plans. A single-source provider of on-site medical device development and manufacturing, custom packaging, kitting, and direct-to-consumer fulfillment. Its biosample 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

Spectrum
in the News

Spectrum
in the News

About the Product

Innovative Engineering

Spectrum-SDNA-1000-Saliva-Collection-Proud Partner of MLB2

Spectrum Solutions has manufactured over 20 million Saliva Collection devices for distribution worldwide. Spectrum’s technically superior  SDNA-1000 saliva collection device was engineered to lead the saliva collection industry in molecular diagnostics and clinical research applications delivering the safest and most robust biomaterial collection approach for the detection and diagnosis of disease or viral infection.

  • First saliva collection device to receive EUA authorization for COVID-19 testing
  • First saliva collection device FDA authorized for at-home sample collection
  • Only pain-free biosample collection option for COVID-19 testing
  • Engineered to reduce self-collection error
  • Delivers consistent high-quality, high-yield biosamples
  • 100% inactivation of the live virus
  • 100% bacteriostatic
  • Delivers over a 90% reduction in PPE usage compared to current swab collections for COVID-19 testing
  • Single device preserves both DNA and fragile viral RNA transcripts
  • Device stabilizes and extends biosample viability post-collection over 10 days with no degradation of sample efficacy extending shipping and transport options
  • Saliva collection system mitigates any risk of infection throughout the testing process
  • Pinpoint life-cycle stage of active viral infection
Questions? Let’s Connect
Spectrum-SDNA-1000-Saliva-Collection-Proud Partner of MLB2

About the Product

Innovative Engineering

Spectrum Solutions has manufactured over 20 million Saliva Collection devices for distribution worldwide. Spectrum’s technically superior  SDNA-1000 saliva collection device was engineered to lead the saliva collection industry in molecular diagnostics and clinical research applications delivering the safest and most robust biomaterial collection approach for the detection and diagnosis of disease or viral infection.

  • First saliva collection device to receive EUA authorization for COVID-19 testing
  • First saliva collection device FDA authorized for at-home sample collection
  • Only pain-free biosample collection option for COVID-19 testing
  • Engineered to reduce self-collection error
  • Delivers consistent high-quality, high-yield biosamples
  • 100% inactivation of the live virus
  • 100% bacteriostatic
  • Delivers over a 90% reduction in PPE usage compared to current swab collections for COVID-19 testing
  • Single device preserves both DNA and fragile viral RNA transcripts
  • Device stabilizes and extends biosample viability post-collection over 10 days with no degradation of sample efficacy extending shipping and transport options
  • Saliva collection system mitigates any risk of infection throughout the testing process
  • Pinpoint life-cycle stage of active viral infection
Questions? Let’s Connect
Contact Us

Let's Connect.

#partofthesolution

Contact Us

Are you a lab? Let’s connect.

Spectrum is currently working to get SDNA-1000 saliva collection kits into the hands of private processing, university, state, and hospital labs that are working to validate the established saliva-based COVID-19 testing protocols for FDA EUA saliva testing authorization. Please contact us directly if your use case includes this goal.

#partofthesolution