Over 100 colleges and universities have contracted with the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to perform covid-19 testing to help keep case rates low while reopening their institutions, reports Scientific American.
In order to safely reopen, institutions of higher learning need the capacity to conduct a massive amount of coronavirus tests and get results back quickly. The Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University offers a program that can help meet this need. More than 100 colleges and universities in the U.S. Northeast have already contracted with the nonprofit biomedical research institution, whose expertise in high-volume genome sequencing allowed it to pivot to offering covid-19 assays earlier this year. The Broad Institute is capable of providing results within 24 hours at a price of $25 per test (the prices of commercial laboratory assays vary but average around $130). As of mid-September, the institute had conducted more than two million tests—at least one million of them for colleges—with a positive rate of about 2 percent.
Representatives of several colleges and universities contracting with Broad told Scientific American they have so far been pleased with its testing efficiency, which—coupled with contact tracing and isolation of people who test positive—has helped keep case rates low. Although these are still early days, this type of rapid testing could be a model for reopening colleges and other institutions nationwide.
Read more in Scientific American.